Waste water treatment plants are, in the main, biological processes supported by mechanical equipment and controlled by electrical systems of varying complexity.
Ideally, persons engaged in the operation, maintenance and servicing of waste water treatment plant should have at least some understanding of the biological process involved and some knowledge and experience of working with mechanical and electrical equipment.
The following are suggested topics with introductory comments and headings below, to be seen as desirable training objectives and outcomes:
- Understand the plant process
- Identify the key components of the system
- Understand the operational requirements
- Understand the key safety issues
- Provide operators with the confidence to operate the plant efficiently.
Understanding the plant process
The Submerged Aerated Filter (SAF) is a biological treatment process based on a submerged aerated biofilter using a fixed film, attached biological growth process. The high rate biological oxidation process is performed using an extremely efficient submerges aerated filter with a very high specific surface area.
In a compact six stage process the SAF system delivers a final effluent low in total suspended solids (TSS), Nitrogen (N) and Phosphate (P).
This process has many advantages including:
- Small footprint
- Low sludge production
- No moving parts
- High efficiency
- Stable, high quality effluent
Key Components of the system
- Equalization and primary tanks 1 & 2 – anaerobic treatment
- Aerobic tank
- Anoxic chamber
- Chlorine contact
Understanding the operational requirements
“Auto mode” allows the plant to start when external signal is received (voltage free contact such as closed contact from the float level switches).
“System stop.” Balance pump stops when level in balance tank is low.
“Emergency stop.” Emergency stop button is located on the side face of the control panel for each plant. This button instantly stops the plant.
Allow trainees to operate these controls.
Perform daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly operational checks as follows:
On a daily basis check for leaks around valves and fittings, check valves for leaks, check inlet and outlet and overflows of balance tank for blockages, visually check aeration system, check for scum accumulation in clarifier, check operation of pumps and blowers.
Each week remove any floating solids from inside tanks, flush airlift system from Return Activated Sludge (RAS), observe quality of final effluent, check all pumps for clogging and overheating.
Every month perform tests as required by the Department of Health, check operation of level switches and alarms, check inlets and outlets of all tanks for blockages, check operation of blower and air filters, inspect circuit breakers and electrical panel indicators.
Every third month inspect and paint any damaged or exposed surface, de-sludge balance, primary and anoxic tanks, clean recycle line from aerobic chambers, clean RAS line from clarifier, clean scum return line from clarifier and clean pump suction piping.
Understand the key safety issues
When carrying out electrical and mechanical maintenance, standard procedures must be conformed to and shall include but not be limited to wearing correct safety equipment, locking/tagging of isolated items, using correct lifting techniques and equipment, maintaining item tagging for correct identification and using appropriate and relevant work permit system with particular attention being paid to “Confined Space” regulation.
Be aware of the potential for contamination by bio-hazards and chemical spills.
Provide operators with the confidence to operate the plant efficiently.
Engage trainee operators during installation and commissioning. Allow them to have a “hands on” experience and to operate principal controls under supervision. Ensure they have a copy of the Operation and Maintenance Manual and are familiar with all the terms and components listed therein and can relate them to the actual part of the physical plant.
To conclude the training, formally test trainees knowledge both orally and in writing, assess and certify.
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