Quality and quantity: How a BioCord frame delivers strength and value

DATE POSTED: April 29, 2021

When it’s dry, a metre of BioCord weighs almost nothing. But after it’s immersed into a wastewater system and becomes a home for a healthy, active biofilm, it really packs on bulk. Each metre of once-wispy BioCord can weigh as much as four kilograms when it’s fully populated with aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms. 

A reactor frame can be fitted with more than 600 metres of BioCord, so it’s easy to see that the supporting frame must be strong to handle the dramatic increase in mass as the biofilm develops. 

The Bishop Water team has tested a number of designs and materials to create the optimum BioCord frame that offers the greatest strength, reliability and service life at the lowest cost. For most applications, aluminum offers a strong, but lightweight, frame that can be customized to any size and will support the full weight of the BioCord media along with the active biofilm layer. Overall, the design of our aluminum frames offers the performance of stainless steel, but at about half the weight and half the cost. 

All BioCord frames are manufactured in Canada to ensure that we can maintain tight control on quality and delivery times. It also enables us to respond quickly to orders and reduces shipping time and cost. 

Our frames are assembled in a modular fashion during the manufacturing process and then prepared for shipping in a flat pack. This arrangement greatly reduces the space required for shipping and the cost. Once the frames arrive at their destination, they can be quickly assembled and then brought to site ready to install. In many cases, a BioCord system can be fully installed in just a few days, while the plant remains in operation. 

Learn more about the advantages of BioCord reactors for wastewater treatment. 

Contact us to discuss a BioCord pilot system for your facility.

It’s curtains for BioCord!

DATE POSTED: March 29, 2021

BioCord curtain design enables fast, easy retrofit to enhance CAS basins.

We often refer to BioCord as a condominium for bacteria, suspended in a free-standing aluminum frame that facilitates fast, easy installation into treatment lagoons.

But that’s not the only way that we can configure this versatile nutrient removal system. Another option is the curtain design that enables BioCord to be installed in concrete or steel process tanks to enhance a conventional activated sludge process. These curtains are fixed within the treatment basin, eliminating concerns of carrier washout or clogging that sometimes arise with similar MBBR systems.

In this configuration, we suspend the BioCord media from stainless steel cables that span the width of a process tank. Our process specialists calculate the appropriate amount of BioCord that should be added to the process tank to achieve the target removal rates for ammonia, total nitrogen and BOD.

Once installed, the BioCord media provides a massive surface area on which nutrient-removing bacteria can attach and form a highly efficient and highly concentrated biofilm. The BioCord media is made up of a blend of durable, inert materials, meaning that no replacement of the fibres are required as long as they are not physically damaged. This approach can significantly increase plant performance and capacity within the existing footprint, eliminating the cost of additional process tanks and related equipment.

BioCord curtain systems also require little energy to operate. Unlike similar technologies that use individual carriers to support biofilm growth, BioCord Curtains are fixed in place, and do not require additional energy to keep the media circulating and/or in suspension. 

In some cases, the existing aeration system may provide sufficient oxygen to maintain BioCord and the existing activated sludge process. This may  If not, the BioCord compressor-powered aeration system can achieve high oxygen transfer to the biofilm for a fraction of the capital and operating cost of typical blower-powered systems.

Learn more about Bishop BioCord Reactors for treatment plant upgrades.

Contact us to discuss your wastewater treatment needs.

Ammonia discharge limits are tightening up for Canadian mines. Be ready with a BioCord system

DATE POSTED: January 27, 2021

By June 1, 2021 metal and diamond mines in Canada will need to comply with a new lower discharge limit for unionized ammonia. Over 100 mines will be affected by this revision to the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (MDMER), which sets a federal effluent limit of 0.5 mg NH3/L. 

To achieve this new regulation, changes may be needed to a mine site’s wastewater treatment system. But the new ammonia target can likely be reached without the need for complex or costly technology upgrades. Many mine sites use simple lagoon systems for wastewater treatment—in part due to their ease of use and low operating costs—and there are upgrade options that can maintain this simplicity and affordability while also improving ammonia removal. 

More nitrifying bacteria = better total ammonia removal

A simple, fixed-film biological treatment system such as Bishop BioCord™ Reactors can dramatically improve total ammonia removal, without significant changes to the way a lagoon is operated. That’s because a BioCord system is designed to enhance the existing lagoon process rather than add another step or sidestream process to the plant. 

Unlike moving-bed or submerged-bed biofilm systems, which require additional tanks or cells, BioCord Reactors can be installed directly into the treatment lagoon to provide a massive surface area on which preferred, naturally occurring bacteria can grow. It’s like a condominium for bacteria; made from densely arranged loops of polymer fibers that are suspended from free-standing frames. This enables BioCord to establish a robust population of nitrifying bacteria that is many times greater than what can be maintained in an ordinary activated sludge lagoon. 

BioCord isn’t limited to upgrades only. This modular system can also form the foundation for new wastewater treatment plants that are designed as lagoons, tanks or even temporary containers. 

Effluent BioCord concentrations running in SBR (sequencing batch reactor) and CSTR (continuous stirred tank reactor) mode.

High oxygen transfer is critical

Each frame is also equipped with a micro-bubble aeration system powered by a low-energy compressor. This design enables the system to achieve high oxygen transfer to the biofilm for a fraction of the capital and operating costs of a typical blower-powered lagoon aeration system.  Oxygen is a critical, and often limiting, parameter for nitrifying bacteria to proliferate, so having high oxygen transfer at a low energy cost is a tremendous advantage. 

Once operational, a BioCord system acclimatizes and adapts to the range of pH, temperature and contaminants that it may experience in the mine’s wastewater lagoon, including high levels of ammonia, nitrogen and cyanide. 

BioCord testing shows that the system can achieve over 99% ammonia reduction in synthetic wastewater concentrations as high as 750 mg/L. Since the system is modular, the system can be sized to meet the required ammonia target and quickly expanded if conditions change. 

Learn more about the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations.

Learn more about BioCord Reactors for high strength wastewater treatment.

Contact us  to discuss your high strength wastewater treatment needs.

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Top 5 things to consider for a lagoon upgrade

DATE POSTED: December 22, 2020

Wastewater lagoons provide simple, reliable and relatively low-cost treatment for small and medium sized communities. In Canada and the US, there are nearly 10,000 municipal lagoon systems and many more when industrial, agricultural and commercial lagoon systems are included. 

But eventually a community needs to improve the treatment capacity and performance of its lagoon system to accommodate growth, meet more stringent regulatory requirements, or both. We’ve compiled a list of important considerations to help you plan a lagoon upgrade that can provide the performance and capacity your community needs at affordable capital and operating costs.

1) Post-lagoon or in-situ treatment process

Moving-bed and submerged-bed systems typically add tanks or in-ground cells to accommodate the new treatment process. Not only does this add to the plant footprint, it also requires additional equipment such as tanks, pipes, pumps and blowers, which can substantially increase capital costs. In-situ systems can be installed directly into the lagoon to enhance treatment capacity without expanding footprint or adding a large amount of supporting equipment. 

2) Energy demand

Blowers can provide lots of air quickly, but the equipment is costly and has high energy demands. Some systems such as MBBR also rely on coarse bubbles from blowers to circulate the carrier media and keep it in suspension, in addition to supplying air to the microbial population. But larger bubbles are also less efficient at transferring oxygen to microbes – much of the air simply bubbles up and out of the process tank. Instead, consider a system that uses low-energy compressors and micro-bubble aeration for significantly higher oxygen transfer and lower, more efficient energy usage. 

3) Ease of operation 

One of the big advantages of wastewater lagoons is that they require little operator attention compared to more advanced mechanical treatment plants. In-situ systems can also share this advantage since they align well with the way wastewater lagoons are typically managed and don’t add complexity or additional processes to manage. 

4) Capital and long-term operating costs

Tanks, media beds, blowers and other equipment can all add capital and operating costs to a lagoon upgrade. Alternatively, in-situ systems use the existing lagoon cell, which can reduce capital costs by as much as 50%. Energy demand for in-situ systems can also be up to 50% lower by eliminating the need to pump wastewater to sidestream process and replacing blowers with low-energy compressors

Installing Bishop BioCord Reactors

5) Customizability 

Like any wastewater system, lagoons can experience variable loading, changing flows, upset and more. Upgrade technologies should be easily adaptable to respond to short- and long-term operating conditions, including anticipated changes to population and regulatory requirements. To achieve this, consider modular systems that can be brought online as needed or easily expanded to accommodate the needs of the community or business. 

BioCord Reactors check all the boxes

BioCord™ Reactors biological nutrient removal gives lagoon operators a simple and efficient way to dramatically increase capacity and performance of a wastewater lagoon or conventional activated sludge plant without expanding footprint. This low-energy, self-regulating process is ideal to help a plant achieve up to 99% ammonia reduction in difficult treatment conditions such as during cold weather or when experiencing high-strength or variable loading. The fixed-film, modular process is like a condominium for bacteria on which preferred, naturally occurring bacteria can thrive. BioCord reactors offer a flexible, modular design that can be customized to fit virtually any secondary treatment process and handle anticipated flow and loading parameters. 

Learn more about BioCord Reactors for lagoon upgrades. 

Contact us to discuss your wastewater treatment plant upgrade. 

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Are you ready for a better coagulant for phosphorus removal?


3 simple steps to test rare-earth coagulant at your plant

New ClariPhos™ rare-earth coagulant is a proven solution to hit phosphorus levels as low as 0.07 mg/L in treated effluent and reduce sludge production by as much as 50% in the process.

Over 50 treatment plants in the US are already using it to comply with tough phosphorus discharge regulations, avoid the need to add tertiary filtration and reduce operating costs. 

Testing ClariPhos performance for your plant can be done easily, just by switching your current liquid ferric or alum coagulant to our rare-earth coagulant. 

The results will be visible almost immediately since ClariPhos binds more tightly to phosphorus. This produces a denser, heavier precipitate that settles about two times faster what you’re currently using. Your clarifier will perform better, you’ll achieve higher phosphorus reduction and produce significantly less sludge as an added benefit. 

Here’s how we’d do it:

1) Jar testing

Simple jar tests with ClariPhos and a small sample of wastewater can quickly demonstrate the effectiveness and anticipated performance of the coagulant at your plant. The results are also used to calculate the dose rate and verify that your current equipment is up to the task. We find that the dosage rates can be significantly lower for ClariPhos as compared to conventional coagulants, so a smaller, more precise feed pump may be needed. If your treatment plant does not currently have a phosphorus removal step, we can also help design and install the process and equipment. 

2) Plant assessment

A quick look at the plant’s treatment processes, configuration and performance will enable our wastewater specialist to verify process equipment and select the best feed point for ClariPhos to ensure optimum mixing and retention time. 

3) Installation

Replace your existing coagulant with ClariPhos and let the test begin. The duration depends on your plant and the conditions it faces. We recommend that the test go long enough to experience typical variations in flow and loading to collect a good data set. 

Download the ClariPhos brochure.

Learn more about ClariPhos rare-earth coagulant for phosphorus reduction and the operational benefits it can bring to your plant.

Contact us to discuss a ClariPhos test at your treatment plant.

Achieve phosphorus limits as low as 0.07 mg/L with ClariPhos rare earth coagulant

DATE POSTED: October 6, 2020

ClariPhos produces up to 50% less sludge than conventional alternatives

Hitting an ultra-low phosphorus limit for treated wastewater effluent can be difficult using ferric- or aluminum-based coagulants alone. Often, large amounts of these conventional coagulants must be used, yet treatment plants may still be unable to meet low phosphorus targets without the addition of costly tertiary filtration equipment.

But ClariPhos rare earth coagulant is enabling treatment plants to achieve phosphorus levels as low as 0.07 mg/L without filtration and without the need to use large amounts of coagulant. The rare earth elements in ClariPhos™, cerium and lanthanum, bind tightly to phosphorus and form a dense precipitate that readily settles out of solution within minutes.

Easily switch to ClariPhos
In most cases, plant operators can simply replace conventional coagulants with ClariPhos to easily and cost-effectively improve the chemical precipitation and settling of phosphorus. ClariPhos requires no special chemical feed equipment and will often work with existing feed pumps. This simple switch can not only enable a plant to achieve regulatory compliance for phosphorus discharge, but it can also help communities to avoid spending millions for costly filtration equipment and ongoing operating costs.

Dozens of treatment plants are already using ClariPhos rare earth coagulant to meet stringent phosphorus targets and lower operating costs from reduced sludge production improved sludge dewatering and decreased sludge hauling and disposal costs.

Case Study:
In just one example, a 3.4 MGD municipal wastewater treatment plant tested Neo rare earth coagulant for its ability to meet a new final water quality effluent limit on phosphorus of 0.075 mg/L. The trial showed that the coagulant alone could consistently reduce phosphorus in the treated effluent to 0.036 mg/L.

This result was far superior to what the plant was able to achieve with its conventional coagulant, ferrous chloride, which could only reduce phosphorus to an average of 0.5 mg/L. After switching to Neo rare earth coagulant, the plant was also able to avoid installing new nutrient removal equipment, at an estimated cost of $2.8 million, and reduce solids production by about 35%.

Read the full case study.

Learn more about ClariPhos rare earth coagulants for phosphorus reduction.

Contact us today to talk about switching your phosphorus coagulant to ClariPhos.

Learn how BioCord and baffle curtains are enhancing performance at Limoges WWTF


Flow of WW through baffle curtains and BioCord Reactors at Limoges WWTF

Baffle curtains now surround two cells of BioCord™ Reactors that were installed as part of an upgrade for the Limoges WWTF in The Nation Municipality. The baffle curtains are an important component to maximize contact between the raw wastewater in the lagoon cells and the BioCord biofilm that breaks down the ammonia.

The baffle curtains achieve this by forming a raceway that directs the flow of wastewater through a series of 180 degree turns. This arrangement not only provides the most intensive arrangement for the 30 BioCord Reactors that make up each cell, but also a compact footprint. The two cells will operate in parallel with the incoming flow spilt between them. Each cell is designed to reduce influent ammonia from 30 mg/L to 1 mg/L in the summer and 5 mg/L in the winter.

Treatment lagoons typically struggle to achieve ammonia removal in the winter months, when cold temperatures reduce the population and activity of nitrifying bacteria. The BioCord system, along with other upgrades to the facility, will enable the Limoges WWTF to improve cold-weather performance and alter its operation from intermittent to continuous discharge. These process changes will also provide a dramatic increase to its treatment capacity, increasing it from 1,500 m3/day to 3,500 m3/day.

Limoges BioCord Installation
BioCord Reactors shown during installation. Once the BioCord Reactors were set in place and connected to the aeration system, the baffle curtains were raised into place to create the raceway.

As a result of this $10 million project, which also includes screening, grit removal, disk filtration and UV disinfection the Nation Municipality can extend the life of its wastewater lagoon system and avoid the need to replace it with a costly mechanical treatment plant.

BioCord Reactors are a made-in-Canada solution that is tested and proven to provide low-energy, self-regulating nutrient removal throughout the wide range of seasonal operating conditions that a plant experiences. The easy-to-operate system aligns well with the way wastewater lagoons are typically managed. With an optimized BioCord system, wastewater lagoons can accept greater nutrient loading, decrease retention times and improve effluent quality—especially in cold-weather conditions.

Watch our webinar series or visit our website to learn more about Bishop BioCord Reactors for enhancing cold weather performance in municipal and industrial wastewater lagoons and conventional activated sludge systems.

Contact us to discuss a BioCord system to achieve year-round enhanced ammonia removal in your wastewater lagoon or CAS plant.  

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