Evaluation of semi-passive treatment technologies for septic lagoon capacity expansion
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In Canada, increases in rural development has led to a growing need to effectively manage the resulting municipal and city sewage without the addition of significant cost- and energy- expending infrastructure. Storring Septic Service Limited is a family-owned, licensed wastewater treatment facility located in eastern Ontario. It makes use of a passive waste stabilization pond system to treat and dispose of waste and wastewater in an environmentally responsible manner. Storring Septic, like many other similar small-scale wastewater treatment facilities across Canada, has the potential to act as a sustainable eco-engineered facility that municipalities and service providers could utilize to manage and dispose of their wastewater. However, it is of concern that the substantial inclusion of third party material could be detrimental to the stability and robustness of the pond system. In order to augment the capacity of the current facility, and ensure it remains a self-sustaining system with the capacity to safely accept septage from other sewage haulers, it was hypothesized that pond effluent treatment could be further enhanced through the incorporation of one of three different technology solutions, which would allow the reduction of wastewater quality parameters below existing regulatory effluent discharge limits put in place by Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). Two of these solutions make use of biofilm technologies in order to enhance the removal of wastewater parameters of interest, and the third utilizes the natural water filtration capabilities of zebra mussels. Pilot-scale testing investigated the effects of each of these technologies on treatment performance under both cold and warm weather operation. This research aimed to understand the important mechanisms behind biological filtration methods in order to choose and optimize the best treatment strategy for full-scale testing and implementation. In doing so, a recommendation matrix was elaborated provided with the potential to be used as a universal operational strategy for wastewater treatment facilities located in environments of similar climate and ecology.