Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/1055
Date of Award
MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Although high rate algae ponds (HRAPs) are a proven wastewater treatment technology with numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits, their widespread use has been hindered by inconsistent and unreliable settling performance. Hence, the goal of this thesis is to investigate how specific operational parameters affect the settling performance of HRAPs. Nine HRAPs (30 m2 surface area, 0.3 m depth) were operated as three triplicate sets, with each set run on either a 2, 3, or 4 day HRT continuously from January 25, 2012 through April 11, 2013. Settling performance was determined (i) by measuring the TSS of Imhoff cone supernatant after 2 and 24 hours of settling and (ii) by measuring the TSS of tube settler effluent. Ponds operating on 2 - 3 day HRTs (loading rate was 24 - 36 g/m3-day csBOD5 and food to microorganism (F/M) ratio was 0.13 - 0.21 day-1) were able to settle consistently with residual TSS averaging less than 40 mg/L after 2 hours of settling time. Tube settlers showed potential as effective harvesting devices; ponds operating on a 2-day HRT averaged 27.9 ± 9.2 mg/L TSS in tube settler effluent at an overflow rate (OFR) of 9.4 L/min-m2. Microscopy analysis was performed and relationships were made between settling performance and algae dominance and floc structure.