Wastewater on Cape Cod

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Presentation from 2008 State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference

Presentation from 2008 State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference

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  • 1. The Challenge of Wastewater on Cape Cod George Heufelder Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment & Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center [email_address]
  • 2. Why is Wastewater Such a BIG Issue on Cape Cod?
    • 85% of Cape buildings use on-site Septic Systems.
    • Rapid population growth is adding more Septic Systems.
    • All discharge nitrogen – even Title 5 systems.
    • Nitrogen is the main cause of deteriorating coastal water quality.
    Learn Act Keep
  • 3. The Impacts of Nitrogen in Marine Settings
  • 4. DAYTIME –Oxygen Production It’s gonna be a long night. O 2 O 2 O 2 O 2 O 2 O 2 O 2 O 2 NIGHT -Oxygen Depletion Decomposition O 2 Respiration O 2 O 2
  • 5. What is Wastewater Treatment ?
  • 6. SEWAGE CESSPOOL SCUM
  • 7. CALM PAUSES SEAS COOL
  • 8. What Wastewater is….
    • Complex organic molecules that are broken down and rearranged in our bodies.
    • Some of these molecules are rearranged to help us sustain life.
    • Unfortunately some are rearranged by harmful organisms and viruses to sustain their life (which is why we should have a healthy respect for wastewater and avoid direct contact without proper treatment).
  • 9. What Wastewater is not…. Radioactive Waste
  • 10. How do traditional treatment methods treat wastewater?
  • 11. Septic Tank NH 4 + NO 3 - Nitrosomonas – Ammonium to Nitrite Nitrobacter – Nitrite to Nitrate O 2 SOIL ABSORPTION SYSTEM The standard septic system efficiently transforms the nitrogen in wastewater to nitrate which conservatively moves in the groundwater toward the ocean.
  • 12. A B
  • 13. TAP WATER 2 Ft. Medium Sand
  • 14. The challenge, in our geological setting is to Remove Nitrogen from Wastewater
  • 15. Nitrogen from the atmosphere is fixed into tissue by plants We or animals eat the plants We process the food and eliminate excess Nitrogen (as urea) Septic tank bacteria convert urea to ammonium Leachfield bacteria convert ammonium to nitrate Oxygen deprived bacteria convert nitrate to nitrogen gas. Nitrogen returns to atmosphere Advanced treatment units manipulate the nitrogen cycle to return fixed nitrogen to the atmosphere
  • 16. NITROGEN TRANSFORMATIONS IN WASTEWATER ARE MEDIATED PRIMARILY BY BACTERIA It’s all about ENERGY!
  • 17. Are advanced treatment onsite septic systems a viable alternative to large treatment plants?
  • 18. Performance Comparison of Selected Denitrification Systems Tested at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center 1999-2003 .
  • 19. What can we expect for treatment in “real” situations?
  • 20. If you aren’t watchin’ they may not be working. In real situations ………
  • 21. Broad application of advanced onsite treatment systems requires features not often talked about, including…
    • Operation and maintenance
    • Monitoring of system performance
    • Oversight by regulatory officials
  • 22. Single Family – All Technologies Combined (four or more samples)
  • 23. Multi-Family – All Technologies Combined (four or more samples)
  • 24. Conclusions
    • Innovative/alternative (I/A) onsite septic system technology can reliably remove approximately 50-70% removal.
    • While there are some newer technologies that hold the promise of higher removal rates, the track record is not long enough for confident predictions.
  • 25. The emerging picture is that large wastewater treatment plants are the most efficient way to remove nitrogen…… But what if ?
  • 26. Other Means of Dealing with Wastewater? (Don’t create so much!)
  • 27. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost)
  • 28. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost)
  • 29. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost)
  • 30. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost)
  • 31. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost)
  • 32. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost) Work Energy Expense
  • 33. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost) Work Energy Expense
  • 34. Instead of taking a small amount of waste and adding it to a large amount of water only to have to remove it again later (at quite a cost) Work Energy Expense
  • 35. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 36. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 37. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 38. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 39. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 40. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 41. Why not prevent the small amount of waste from getting into a large amount in the first place.
  • 42. So how can we do it?
  • 43. Composting toilets allow for the separation of toilet waste (containing most of the nutrients and pathogens) from “graywater”
  • 44. Composting toilets still need a means for safe graywater disposal Composting Toilets Smaller carousel type compost toilet
  • 45.  
  • 46. Foam flush toilet eliminates the objections of the “dark hole”, but creates approximately 500 gallons of liquid waste/year/household.
  • 47. Thinking about that 500 gallons? Let’s do some math…… 1000 homes using composting toilet = 0.5 million gallons per YEAR 1000 homes on sewer using 250 gallons per day produces 0.5 million gallons every two days that require treatment!
  • 48. Envirolet
  • 49. Urine Diversion Diverting Urine to a tank for later collection and treatment/ recycling.
  • 50. UREA IS THE MOST ABUNDANT NITROGEN-CONTAINING COMPOUND IN THE WASTE FROM OUR BODIES Although urine makes up only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, it accounts for 50–80% of the nutrient content.
  • 51. Urine diversion may offer the opportunity to recover phosphorus and nitrogen as a fertilizer
  • 52. Evapotranspiration Beds
  • 53. Geoflow® Drip Irrigation
  • 54. Surface and Subsurface Irrigation
  • 55. Wastewater Management How will we know what’s best?
  • 56. To make the right decision regarding wastewater planning in any community you need..
    • Good assessment of the need (what are the real problems? – what are the treatment objectives?)
    • Good information regarding the various alternatives
    • Good community involvement ranging from buying into the need to address the problems to the selection of the alternative necessary to address it.
    EDUCATION
  • 57. Questions ?