Compliance for commercial sewage treatment plants

Supplier: AUBIN Environmental By: Stephen Pereira
09 February, 2017

Owning your own sewage treatment plant can be expensive, time consuming and a legal nightmare. But compliance may now be easier than you thought…

Compliance with performance requirements is becoming more important as regulators become more vigilant and determined to enforce discharge limits.

What's more, the public are now better educated about impacts on the environment and health.  They expect more and are becoming more vocal and litigious.

Being shut down has never been such a stark reality within the hospitality industry, but understanding where you stand and what can be done is a tricky business.

There are countless private sewage treatment plants outside metropolitan areas, especially in regional 'tourist belts' like the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road and Mt Dandenong.

They are out the back of restaurants, wineries, hotels and convention centres.  Mining camps and caravan parks are also common locations.  Most discharge to the environment via irrigation systems or to a river.

These plants started popping up 50+ years ago when regulations demanded better levels of environmental protection.

There are numerous variations to the small package plants available but they are all based on the same simple biological process:

  1. Biological treatment of solids (no air)
  2. Biological treatment of liquid (with air)
  3. Separate water from beneficial bacteria
  4. Disinfect cleaned water

(As a side note, it is absolutely imperative that the right variation is selected for your site, otherwise you could end up in a world of hurt!)

Borderline compliance for aging systems is a common scenario and it has been found that this is typically caused by poor performance in the final 2 stages of the process only.

There are a range of reasons for this, but most are associated with controlling the species of dominant bacteria.  Only certain bacteria will settle to the bottom of a tank when it is time to discharge the cleaned water.  Gravity based separation systems require specific bacteria.

The result is an effluent that still contains a high level of bacteria, and means:

  • Disinfection system is overloaded
  • Elevated solids, BOD and bacteria

Elevated concentrations of any or all of these parameters can be incredibly damaging to the environment and is targeted upon by the EPA.

Short of replacing your whole plant (capital cost and disruption to business) the options available for small plant operators are limited. They are either prohibitively expensive (chemicals and operator time) or simply don't achieve that which is required.

CSS was invited to investigate this very issue and applied a fresh approach based on recent development work they had conducted in the industrial space.

The result is a world first (patent pending) membrane/UV package plant that requires only minimal operator time and expertise.

Membrane has long been the best available technology world-wide for achieving 'Step 3' but until now it has required a team of team of full time engineers and technicians to run it.

CSS's new unique membrane operating system doesn't eliminate maintenance all together but it is now minimal and doesn't need any specialist training.

An added advantage of the membrane is that UV disinfection is ultra-effective due to the perfect clarity of the effluent produced by membrane treatment.

These technologies are now available in a package plant featuring CSS's patented operating system.

The package has been designed as a bolt-on for existing plants or can be built into new installations.

This gives a new level of cost effective reassurance, allowing hospitality management to confidently rely upon the sewage treatment plant to operate with minimum maintenance and attention, and get on with enjoying the nicer aspects of their hospitality business!

The first place to start for an operator with concerns is to get honest expert advice.  CSS has its own consulting engineers to provide pre-purchase assessment and advice, equipment solutions and maintenance crew to assist with ongoing support.

Contact CSS by phone or email to discuss your situation further (