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A study by SBR Technologies proves the Sequencing Batch Reactor to be a viable new option for the biological treatment of wastewater

Challenge

In the early 1970’s, the EPA began searching for innovative and emerging technologies to treat the increasing issue of wastewater. Working with the municipal wastewater treatment plant in Culver, Indiana, Dr. Robert L. Irvine and his colleagues developed the Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) to meet the treatment needs of the wastewater plant. This project marks the first full-scale demonstration and study of the SBR, a fill-and-draw activated sludge system.

SBR Technologies Solution

Based on the results obtained from extensive analyses and numerous bench scale studies carried out at the University of Notre Dame, the methods used to treat wastewater were changed dramatically. The conventional activated sludge system owned and operated by the town of Culver was converted to a 1400 m3/d, two-tank SBR treatment plant.

Benefits Achieved

The conversion of the system at Culver verified the inherent flexibility of the SBR process to achieve high levels of outflow for either secondary or advanced wastewater treatment. Notable improvements included:

  • Culver’s SBR system achieved consistently high removals of BOD5, suspended solids (SS) and nitrogen. Effluent concentrations for these constituents were well bellow permitted discharge levels.
  • 90% of the inorganic nitrogen was removed biologically during the initial study
  • Biological phosphorus was successfully removed in follow-up studies conducted at the plant

The EPA concluded that the SBR process was a viable option for municipal wastewater treatment and began supporting it as an innovative, alternative option. The town of Culver’s municipal facility continued running the SBR operation after the conclusion of the demonstration project.