Increasing efficiency while reducing costs
Neel-Schaffer designed a state-of-the-art, awarding-winning wastewater treatment facility for the City of McComb that was the first of its kind in Mississippi and also one of only a handful in the entire country designed using a unique system to reduce operating costs and consume its own waste.
The $34 million facility, which was completed approximately $1 million under budget and three months ahead of schedule, is able to process wastewater for the entire region in an environmentally responsible manner and serves as the example for regional solutions to the costly problem of upgrading existing wastewater treatment plants to comply with new environmental permitting regulations.
The science behind the system is nothing new, but the application is revolutionizing the industry. Using a naturally occurring biological process, the system uses “bugs” to break down waste and eat the bacteria in the treated water.
The Cannibal™ basin is a large holding facility that is depleted of all oxygen. Highly aerobic microorganisms (bugs) within the activated sludge are introduced into an environment of facultative, low-in-oxygen bugs, where they are “consumed” by the oxygen-depleted bugs, hence the “cannibal” application. This cannibalistic process greatly reduces the amount of sludge produced, which in turn limits the amount that must be disposed.
The facility has created limited amounts of sludge due to the conditioning of the wasted sludge within the interchange bioreactor. Disposal costs for solids handling is ever increasing and has an impact on the operations budget of the facility, whether the solids are de-watered for landfill disposal or land application. Even solids wasted directly to a sludge lagoon will ultimately have to be removed.
Disposing this waste sludge is becoming an increasingly costly problem for cities, whether they utilize landfills, land application, or add additional costly processes to convert the sludge into a safe product for commercial use. The benefits realized through use of this innovative process include a reduction of the facility’s environmental “footprint,” greater flexibility in wastewater treatment methods, and a reduction in the amount of residual sludge produced.