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BioCord pilot system proves its mettle for cold-weather ammonia removal.

DATE POSTED: October 28, 2021


BioCord pilot system

The challenge:
Affordably improving ammonia removal without expanding plant footprint

Onsite wastewater lagoons at a petrochemical manufacturing plant in Western Canada were experiencing difficulty in meeting the ammonia discharge limit during cold-weather conditions. The three-cell lagoon system provides pretreatment of the facility’s sanitary and process wastewater before the effluent is released to the municipal sewer. But during the winter months, the system struggles to achieve the discharge limit set by the city.

Low temperature and high BOD are often responsible for impeding the ability of a wastewater lagoon to remove ammonia and can result in non-compliance. Unfortunately, the problem was com-pounded when operators learned that more stringent discharge regulations were coming.

After about six weeks of operation, a second 3,400 L BioCord tank, was added to the pilot system to cope with higher than anticipated organic loading.

BioCord enables a robust biofilm to thrive.
The BioCord media provides a massive surface area for a robust biofilm to form and thrive.

The solution:
Plug-and-play BioCord™ system quickly installed
A Bishop BioCord™ Reactor pilot system was installed in 2018 to evaluate its ability to improve BOD and ammonia removal in Pond 2 of the facility.

BioCord Reactors are like condominiums for bacteria that dramatically increase biological nutrient remov-al and require little energy or operator oversight. The containerized plug-and-play system arrived fully assembled and was quickly installed with only four connections for influent, effluent, overflow and power. Effluent from Pond 1 was directed to a 3,400L tank in the sidestream system. Both Pond 2 and the BioCord system received the same influent for the duration of the pilot test.

After about six weeks of operation, a second 3,400 L BioCord tank, was added to the pilot system to cope with higher than anticipated organic loading.

The results:
BioCord’s simple, low-energy process achieves high ammonia and BOD removal

Throughout the 14-week pilot test, the BioCord system performed significantly better than Pond 2 for reducing ammonia concentrations and other key treatment parameters such as cBOD, TSS and COD. Even when the temperature of the wastewater fell as low as 2.8⁰C, BioCord was able to remove 97% of the ammonia. On average, the BioCord Reactor pilot system was able to reduce ammonia concentration in treated effluent to about 13 mg/L, vs. influent concentration of about 38 mg/L.

Chart: Total ammonia reduction by BioCord vs. Pond 2.
Influent and effluent ammonia concentrations in the BioCord Reactor pilot system. Ammonia concentrations from the effluent of Pond 2 are also shown. Influent wastewater was drawn from the outlet of Cell 1 of the facility’s 3-pond system. Water temperatures are plotted on the secondary axis

Full-scale BioCord system keeps costs low and avoids footprint expansion
Unlike alternative approaches that require additional tanks and energy-intensive blowers, a full-scale BioCord system is installed directly into the treatment lagoon, helping to minimize capital costs and eliminating the need to expand plant footprint.

This design, along with low-energy compressors, rather than costly blowers enables a BioCord system to consume about 50% less energy than an MBBR system designed to achieve the same level of nutrient removal. The compressors, combined with an integrated aeration diffuser, provide an opti-mized level of oxygen and mixing to develop a robust, highly efficient biofilm.

Learn more about the advantages of BioCord Reactors for cold-weather ammonia removal.

Contact us to discuss your wastewater treatment needs.