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Commercial Park – Aerobic Treatment Unit Restoration

A commercial park in Western Australia was experiencing issues with the aerobic treatment unit (ATU) that provides wastewater treatment for all the businesses present. The commercial park includes a mix of retail and food and beverage businesses whose combined waste was pushing the ATU past its capabilities. 

The water inside the ATU was a milky white, there were large fatty deposits and the system was emitting strong odours that were affecting the businesses and their customers. 

The Diagnosis 

Ecowater Services were called upon to diagnose the issue and rectify the issue. Their diagnosis was that the ATU was receiving more waste than it was designed for, the bacteria populations were diminished and the waste breakdown processes were ineffective. 

Testing of the ATU indicated the following:

  1. In the anaerobic chamber turbidity was very high, indicating that the chamber was either full or the anaerobic process was no longer working. 
  2. In the aerobic chamber, there was no free oxygen present despite aeration and there was little activated sludge present, indicating the aerobic process was no longer working. 
  3. The pump out chamber failed to meet health standards for presence of E.Coli, Total Suspended Solids and Biological Oxygen Demand. 

It appeared that a lack of maintenance treatment combined with excess loading had caused the biological conditions within the system to degrade and the necessary bacterial populations to be diminished. 

This resulted in ineffective aerobic and anaerobic processes, insufficient digestion time and conditions that prevented bacteria from repopulating. 

The efficiency of any wastewater system is dependent on the presence of sufficient bacteria to break down and digest waste. Without the right types of bacteria, in sufficient populations, operating in the appropriate biological conditions the system will be unable to adequately process the waste load and will eventually fail. 

Ecowater Services recommended reintroducing specialty bacteria to reseed the system and then ensuring these bacteria reached effective levels by providing them with the specific micro and macro nutrients they require to quickly flourish. 

A combination of EcoCare Culture GF and EcoCare Activator would restore the system and enhance its performance so that it could handle the large waste load. 

The Wastewater Treatment Plan 

A six-week remediation and restoration programme was put in place to see if the performance of the system could be improved without any physical modifications. The ATU was dosed with 7L of EcoCare Culture GF and 8.5L of EcoCare Activator over the course of 6 weeks. 

EcoCare Culture GF – fat, oil and grease digestion

To restart the waste breakdown processes, EcoCare Culture GF introduces a blend of selective fat and grease digesting bacteria which rapidly multiply and digest fatty deposits without the need for any chemicals. 

Each day, the ATU was dosed with 150ml of EcoCare Culture GF through one of the drains leading to the system. 

EcoCare Activator – biological restoration 

To enhance the performance of the ATU, EcoCare Activator restores the optimal biological conditions in the system, allowing the bacteria to thrive and effective waste breakdown to take place. 

The ATU was primed with a 4L dose of EcoCare Activator which was then followed up with 250ml three days a week. 

The Results 

At the end of the six week remediation and restoration programme, the system experienced the following results. 

  • 70% decrease in E.Coli to well within health standards. 
  • Turbidity reduced by 80% 
  • Total Suspended Solids reduced by 30% 
  • Activated sludge increased by 800% 

The ATU was no longer full, the odour had disappeared and later inspections indicated that the system was performing effectively. As the waste load was unchanged, it was recommended that the system continue to be dosed with EcoCare Culture GF and EcoCare Activator to maintain the optimal biological conditions and healthy bacterial populations.