Process Optimization for Wastewater Treatment Facilities

May 25, 2022

Wastewater treatment plants include numerous individual treatment processes within the overall treatment train. Each of these individual processes have optimum operating conditions that allow them to efficiently handle the specific parameters which the process is designed to treat. The misalignment of one of these parameters can result in a treatment process that is costly and difficult to maintain. In a worst-case scenario, your wastewater process can fail completely––leading to environmental compliance issues and poor effluent water quality.

By optimizing your treatment system and the individual processes, users can achieve consistent regulatory compliance, save operators valuable time and reduce overall operational costs at the facility.

The First Stage of Process Optimization: Parameter Evaluation

The first part of wastewater treatment process optimization includes a thorough evaluation of the process parameters that affect your wastewater treatment process. These parameters include:

  • Permitted discharge limits
  • Influent and effluent water quality
  • Source water make-up
  • Chemicals used in the wastewater treatment process
  • Chemical and physical water characteristics
  • Upstream and downstream processes
  • Wastewater generating activities

During this evaluation, our team of engineers and wastewater operators will assess lab data to detect how the plant is processing wastewater. In addition, necessary testing and analysis (such as jar testing, biodegradability, etc.) can be conducted to evaluate the performance of the individual processes in the wastewater treatment facility. This can help our operators determine if plant operators are taking the appropriate steps to improve the plant’s overall performance and output.

After we complete a thorough evaluation of your current process parameters, we can conduct an equipment analysis and test other components of your plant’s process.

The Second Stage of Process Optimization: Equipment Operation Analysis

A typical approach to equipment review involves three main objectives: conducting an equipment audit, identifying equipment issues, and developing a plan to address the identified equipment faults. When equipment is evaluated by our professionals, we most often look at the yearly maintenance schedule to determine if the equipment is operating at its optimum level.  An equipment audit review is an integral part of any organization’s wastewater treatment plan. Our equipment review findings can give us a glimpse into your plant’s wastewater treatment facility process and identify ways we can implement, upgrade or benchmark your plant’s process optimization. Based upon our findings, McFadden Engineering can develop a plan for operational adjustments, equipment upgrades and new chemicals for the treatment process.

The Final Stage of Process Optimization: Assess Operation

Performance assessment is an integral tool for wastewater treatment plants to operate on a cost-effective and sustainable basis. After the necessary wastewater treatment facility parameters have been evaluated and an action plan has been developed and implemented to address the outstanding equipment needs, our team will assess the wastewater plant operation. This includes a thorough review of monthly reporting to regulatory agencies and daily lab data, if available. In addition, maintenance logs and equipment history are usually very helpful in evaluating issues. Our team will also develop a list of priorities to determine which plant objectives to tackle first. In some instances, recommendations could include additional site training for the facility’s operator and staff.

Throughout this process, it’s imperative that our operators maintain a pulse on your plant’s progress to ensure an efficient and smooth-running system operation.

Enhance Your Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Efficiency with On-Site Engineering Consultants

All wastewater treatment facilities strive to reach their maximum outputs, while maintaining a smooth-running operation. Despite your plant’s best efforts to maintain a well-oiled operation, sometimes optimization is needed to achieve maximum efficiency. Optimization can take many different forms – this could mean anything from hiring additional wastewater operators to incorporating additional treatment processes to meet the overall needs of the facility. Our team at McFadden has a collective 100 years of working in wastewater management. We’re here to serve as allies for your wastewater plant––to help your plant achieve efficiency and run better than before.

For more information about McFadden Engineering’s Facility Management and Operations services, contact us.

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