Project Details

Project Name: Water Quality Model
Country: USA
Description: Two leading textile manufactures operate dyeing and finishing plants which discharge untreated wastewater to the city's publicly owned treatment works (POTW). The POTW provides extended aeration activated sludge treatment and discharges into a nearby creek, which combines with another creek, and ultimately enters a much larger lake. Although biological treatment produces an acceptable discharge with respect to conventional pollutants and has not demonstrated toxicity to aquatic life, the discharge was highly colored. Due to the high proportion of POTW discharge to first creek flow, very little dilution was experienced in that creek and color levels were essentially the same as the discharge color. Once combined with the second creek and upon entering the lake, the color was significantly reduced. However, visually detectable color was apparent in the vicinity of a nearby subdivision. Residents of this subdivision had objected to the color being experienced and the State Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) was considering the establishment of a color limit on the POTW discharge which would reduce color levels to aesthetically acceptable levels. Since a significant amount of dilution and color decay may be achieved instream to reduce the aesthetic impact of the discharge on the lake and the cost of color removal was substantial, development of a water quality model to predict the impact of various color levels discharging from the POTW on the lake was critical. The objective of the water quality model was to allow evaluation of the resulting color levels in both creeks and the lake, at various discharge color levels, POTW flowrates, river flowrates and seasonal conditions. Generally, capital and operating costs for color removal increase significantly as color limits become more stringent. Once the impact of discharge color levels was understood, color limits were established to meet water quality objectives and to minimize treatment requirements and the associated costs. ADEM accepted this approach to rationally determine treatment requirements and modeling efforts were closely coordinated and reviewed.

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