Considering Upgrading Your Dewatering System?

header 2.jpg

Sludge dewatering and biosolids disposal can represent a significant expense of operating a wastewater treatment plant. Changing regulations, ageing equipment, and tightening budgets have caused communities to re-examine the status quo. Evaluating your community’s biosolids practices as a whole can yield operational savings that pay for necessary capital investments with benefits extending many years into the future. Prior to upgrading your dewatering system be sure to ask the following questions:

1) What are the technologies available to my community? 

Dewatering is not a one size fits all solution. Technological advances have changed the dewatering landscape as compared to that 30 year old belt press sitting out at the plant. Take a road trip to see real world installations and talk to other facility owners. Typical technologies in use today include the following, each has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered prior to shortlisting any particular piece of equipment:

  • Belt Filter Press – Low capital cost, low energy consumption and high throughput compared to odor potential, additional cleanup time and lack of automation.

  • Centrifuge – Self-contained, clean, small footprint compared to high capital and energy costs, and noise/vibration concerns.

  • Screw Presses – Automatic operation, quiet, clean, low energy requirements compared to higher polymer use and higher capital costs. 

 Technological advances in dewatering allow higher throughput in a smaller footprint – consider factors beyond initial purchase cost before shortlisting equipment for your next project. Operating costs, maintenance requirements, and polymer usage can all affect cost of ownership over the lifecycle of dewatering equipment.

Technological advances in dewatering allow higher throughput in a smaller footprint – consider factors beyond initial purchase cost before shortlisting equipment for your next project. Operating costs, maintenance requirements, and polymer usage can all affect cost of ownership over the lifecycle of dewatering equipment.

2) Have we conducted pilot testing of available technologies? 

Did you know that most manufacturers offer pilot testing at no charge?  Don’t make your community’s investment based on a sales promise - put prospective manufacturers through the ringer at your facility.  Use pilot testing as an opportunity to operate the equipment first hand, for each technology option determine polymer usage, filtrate quality, energy use, and cake solids percent before you prepare bidding documents.  Get to know each manufacturer and their staff – you’ll likely be working with them for many years to come. 

 St. Lawrence County, NY – B&L Engineers oversee pilot testing of a screw press. Resulting improvements enable Village to save over $100,000 per year in sludge disposal costs.

St. Lawrence County, NY – B&L Engineers oversee pilot testing of a screw press. Resulting improvements enable Village to save over $100,000 per year in sludge disposal costs.

3) Can my biosolids be an asset to my community rather than an expense? 

Landfill disposal costs continue to rise. Have you ever considered converting your biosolids to a product that can be beneficially reused within your community? Composting dewatered sludge is one opportunity of many to consider for sustainable use of biosolids.

 Cayuga County, NY - B&L Engineers assisted with improving biosolids digestion and dewatering processes and efficiency in advance of an aerated static pile composting operation rather than being sent to a landfill, dewatered sludge is converted to compost and is given free of charge to village residents.

Cayuga County, NY - B&L Engineers assisted with improving biosolids digestion and dewatering processes and efficiency in advance of an aerated static pile composting operation rather than being sent to a landfill, dewatered sludge is converted to compost and is given free of charge to village residents.

Following this holistic approach to dewatering and biosolids optimization, B&L was recently able to save a community over $100,000 per year in sludge disposal costs.  Find out how - talk to an expert at B&L today. Please contact Richard Straut, P.E., Principal, at (315) 457-5200 or rstraut@bartonandloguidice.com or George Bevington, Senior Project Manager, at (518) 218-1801 or gbevington@bartonandloguidice.com for assistance.

Lucia ForteComment