The effect of three holding tank chemicals on anaerobic wastewater treatment

Doctoral thesis OPEN
Howard, Samuel Clarence (1988)
  • Publisher: Virginia Tech
  • Subject: LD5655.V855 1988.H682 | Water
    mesheuropmc: fungi | fluids and secretions

Sewage-holding tanks aboard recreational boats store human wastes, thereby preventing the direct discharge of wastewater to the aquatic environment. Water-conserving toilets and limited holding tank volumes produce a highly concentrated waste that must be periodically dumped to a wastewater treatment system. Prior to disposal, many boat operators add commercial preparations to control odors produced in their chemical toilets and holding tanks. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of three holding-tank chemicals on anaerobic wastewater treatment. Specifically, septic-tank performance with respect to effluent total suspended solids (TSS) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) was evaluated. Potential drain-field failure was the concern that led to the selection of TSS and COD. Drain-field failure could result from high solids carry-over or from a high concentration of COD in the effluent which would promote excessive bio-mat growth and clog the system. Laboratory septic tanks were constructed and operated for this evaluation. Methanol, paraformaldehyde and formaldehyde were each listed as an active ingredient in one of three chemical compounds used by recreational boat owners to deodorize sewage-holding tanks. septic-tank effluent TSS concentrations were not adversely effected by the shockloading with wastewater containing these chemicals. Concentrations expected to be achieved by dilution (20 and 50 percent of the recommended additive dose) resulted in septic-tank effluent COD within an acceptable range, which was determined by operation of a control system. Wastewaters containing these concentrations were not detrimental to the septic-tank treatment system. However, the full manufacturers' recommended dose of the odor control chemicals disrupted the system's ability to degrade COD. At full strength, the para formaldehyde and formaldehyde deodorants were particularly detrimental; no recovery occurred after the two-day shock-dose was completed.
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