In areas with available land, facultative ponds are an effective, low-cost way to treat wastewater. Facultative ponds have aerobic, anoxic, and anaerobic zones all within the same basin depending upon water depth. Dissolved oxygen is provided by the surface air/water interface, wave action, and in summer months - algae!
While often considered a problem during summer months when an algae bloom can cause effluent TSS issues, the algae is important in providing oxygen and removing nutrients (nitrogen & phosphorus) from the wastewater. As an advocate of regular microscopic exams to check the microlife of the pond, it is good to take fresh samples from the pond and centrifuge to get concentrated solids to examine. Besides the protozoa and free bacteria, note the algae that are present. Changes in algae type - can indicate changes that can result in a bloom. Most of the water quality issues are caused by blooms of cyanobateria or blue green algae that can rapidly generate in water and cause problems with odors, pH swings, and TSS.
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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