Technology Spotlight

What is your technology?
The Intermittently Decanted Extended Aeration Lagoon (IDEAL) is an advanced water resource reclamation technology pioneered by Environmental Dynamics International (EDI). The IDEAL Bioreactor combines four specific proven technologies: an aerated lagoon, extended aeration process design, batch treatment for solids separation, and integrated fixed-film activated sludge for hydraulic buffering and cold-climate nitrification. An isometric view of the IDEAL Bioreactor with a partial mix lagoon and quiescent zone is shown in Figure 1. It should be noted that several alternate configurations for solids management and tertiary treatment are available depending on project and site requirements. 



Figure 1. IDEAL Bioreactor with optional partial mix lagoon and quiescent zone.

What are the benefits to implementing your technology?

  • Front-of-the-Plant Ammonia Removal
    – The IDEAL Process removes BOD and ammonia up front where warmest carbon-rich influent wastewater is available to increase biological activity and drive nitrification plus denitrification for recovery of oxygen and alkalinity. Most other lagoon process upgrades look to the back of the plant for ammonia removal where BOD concentration is lowest and where temperature loss can be significant resulting in limited process performance or control.
  • Energy and Chemical Savings
    – Microbes can use nitrate as a source of oxygen, and the resulting denitrification and total nitrogen removal that occurs naturally in the IDEAL process reduces oxygen requirements and operational energy costs. The alkalinity recovered during denitrification can decrease or eliminate the need for the chemical addition that is required in some plants so complete nitrification can occur. 
  • Worry-Free Operation During and After Peak-Plus Flow Events
    – The IDEAL Process has shown an excellent ability to maintain performance during and after heavy wastewater surges that exceed design flow rates, a phenomena that is not uncommon in many existing lagoon systems. IDEAL also easily adjusts to varying degrees of organic loading as the combination of suspended growth and attached growth process in the IDEAL bioreactor provides excellent process stability.
  • Long-Term Compliance Planning
    – Upgrades for advanced system control and maximum pollutant removal are simple, only requiring treatment module additions. No modification to the core treatment process is necessary for expansion of performance.
  • Minimum Operator Attention
    – The IDEAL Process offers simple operation with minimum operator commitment similar to traditional aerated lagoons.

Has the technology been tested, demonstrated, or implemented anywhere to date?
There are two full-scale operations in existence. The first is in Grantsville, Utah, and the second is in Miner, Missouri. Grantsville has been in operation for over four years while Miner has been in operation for over two years.

What are some of the next steps needed to advance the technology?
The IDEAL Bioreactor has demonstrated the ability to reduce ammonia-nitrogen from typical municipal concentrations to less than 0.05 mg/L at temperatures less than 3°C. This data was generated at the Miner, Missouri installation with sustained low liquor temperatures over the course of two to three weeks. The IDEAL Bioreactor may be limited in northern climates if cold temperatures must be sustained for a much longer time, say two to three months. The challenge testing the IDEAL at full-scale (lagoon geometry makes bench-scale testing difficult and is not necessarily representative) in climates where sustained low temperatures are expected. The goal is to better define the need for thermal covers, the cost of which can often be prohibitive from an overall project standpoint. A secondary goal is to modify operation to promote a maximum amount of total nitrogen (TN) removal. We believe a TN concentration of 8 mg/L is achievable on a regular basis by better controlling dissolved oxygen concentration.

How has LIFT helped, or how can LIFT help?
EDI is actively looking for industry partners to help locate potential test locations/facilities and engage in process validation. We believe demonstration of sustained cold-weather treatment could not only provide a significant number of communities with an affordable treatment option, but could lead to a process breakthrough with larger ramifications than the lagoon market. That potential breakthrough is purely conceptual at this point but can easily be tested and proven through additional process verification of the IDEAL Bioreactor. Additionally, having a reputable third-party organization such as WERF involved in process testing and evaluation will increase overall industry acceptance of a technology that has a tremendous amount of potential for rural stakeholders across North America.

For more information, please contact:

Tim Canter
tim.canter@environmentaldynamics.com
(573) 474-9456 x263