Effects of wastewater pre-treatment on clogging of an intermittent sand filter

Mohamed, A.Y.A.
Tuohy, P.
Healy, Mark G.
Ó hUallacháin, D.
Fenton, O.
Siggins, A.
Mohamed, A. Y. A., Tuohy, P., Healy, M. G., Ó hUallacháin, D., Fenton, O., & Siggins, A. (2023). Effects of wastewater pre-treatment on clogging of an intermittent sand filter. Science of The Total Environment, 876, 162605. doi:
Intermittent sand filters (ISFs) are widely used in rural areas to treat domestic and dilute agricultural wastewater due to their simplicity, efficacy and relative low cost. However, filter clogging reduces their operational lifetime and sustainability. To reduce the potential of filter clogging, this study examined pre-treatment of dairy wastewater (DWW) by coagulation with ferric chloride (FeCl3) prior to treatment in replicated, pilot-scale ISFs and monitored their performance over an entire milking season (301 days). Over the study duration and at the end of the study, the extent of clogging across hybrid coagulation-ISFs was quantified and the results were compared to ISFs treating raw DWW without a coagulation pre-treatment, but otherwise operated under the same conditions. During operation, biomass growth/extent of clogging was higher in ISFs treating raw DWW, which were fully clogged after 280 days of operation. The hybrid coagulation-ISFs remained fully operational until the end of the study. Examination of the filter media in both filter types showed that the ISFs treating raw DWW lost approximately 85% of their initial infiltration capacity in the uppermost layer due to biomass build-up versus 40% loss for hybrid coagulation-ISFs. Furthermore, ISFs treating raw DWW retained more organic matter and proportionally higher amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen and sulphur than the pre-treated DWW, with values decreasing with depth below the filter surface. Overall, hybrid coagulation-ISFs are likely to sustain infiltration capacity for a longer period than filters treating raw wastewater; therefore, requiring smaller surface area for treatment and minimal maintenance.
Publisher DOI
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)