Smelly Lagoon? Diagnosing and Correcting Lagoon Odors

Smelly lagoons have created the perception that wastewater lagoons don’t work and should be replaced with mechanical plants. Triplepoint HQ is six miles as the crow flies from the Stickney (aka “Stinkney”) Water Reclamation District, which serves the Chicago area and is the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant. Our coworkers who live a little closer to the facility can tell you on certain days when the wind is blowing the wrong way, treatment plants smell! A properly functioning lagoon is for the most part free of objectionable odors; in fact, a smelly lagoon is announcing that it’s not working optimally.

In this video, Triplepoint’s Patrick Hill describes lagoon odors and what they mean and shares some options for correcting the conditions that cause odor. Watch the video and read below for highlights. Continue reading

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Land Application of Lagoon Effluent: Pros and Cons

Land application is the most common disposal method for treated wastewater in the U.S., and the preferred method in many states. Land applying effluent can reduce demand for fresh water, provide nutrients to soil, and keep potential contaminants out of waterways. For lagoons, it may also be a way to avoid having to meet ammonia discharge limits. Watch our video on the pros and cons of land application for lagoon effluent and read below for highlights.

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Summer Ammonia Removal: Optimizing Warm-Weather Nitrification

summer ammonia removal

Summer ammonia removal via nitrification is less of a challenge for lagoons than cold weather ammonia removal, as nitrifying bacteria are temperature sensitive and thrive in warmer water. The interplay between algae and bacteria, dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature determines the pathway and rate of nitrification. Watch our video, 6 Key Factors for Nitrification, then read below for tips on how a lagoon can be optimized for summer ammonia removal. Continue reading

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Frac Ponds: Treating Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater for Reuse

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of injecting pressurized water, chemicals, and sand into the ground to extract shale oil and natural gas. While fracking has transformed energy production in the U.S., it requires a lot of water and thus creates a lot of wastewater, which must be treated and disposed of safely. In this video interview, Triplepoint’s resident expert, western regional manager Tom Daugherty, gives the lowdown on fracking wastewater and how frac ponds can be economically upgraded with MARS aeration. Read below for highlights and links to more information.

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Duckweed Control in Wastewater Lagoons

Duckweed, or water lens, is a rapidly growing, invasive aquatic plant that thrives in wastewater lagoons due to the presence of ammonia and phosphorus, which act as fertilizer. Since summertime is high season for lagoon duckweed, it’s a good time to revisit the topic—what duckweed is and what it does, and review some methods of duckweed control. Continue reading

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Replacing Coarse Bubble Aeration: A Video Lagoon Case Study

Coarse bubble aeration for lagoons has fallen out of favor, mainly because of its inefficiency compared to fine bubble aeration. While coarse bubble aeration provides excellent mixing performance, it doesn’t transfer oxygen as well as fine bubble does, requiring higher energy expenditures.

This video case study shows how replacing coarse bubble aeration with Triplepoint’s MARS aeration allows a municipality to save money on energy and produce high quality effluent for beneficial reuse in irrigation. Continue reading

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Wastewater Lagoon Odor Control for Spring Turnover

wastewater lagoon odor controlSpring is the time of the year when unmixed lagoons turn over, so it’s also the time of the year when operators (and local residents) are concerned about wastewater lagoon odor control. Although spring lagoon turnover and its accompanying odors may be normal and expected, that doesn’t mean they are tolerated. In this short article, we’ll explain what causes lagoons to turn over and what can be done to mitigate odor issues. Continue reading

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Lagoon Hydraulics: Diagnosing and Preventing Short-Circuiting

“Short-circuiting is the greatest deterrent to consistent pond performance. The importance of the hydraulic design of a pond system cannot be overemphasized.” That’s a quote from the EPA’s lagoon manual, Principles of Design and Operations of Wastewater Treatment Pond Systems for Plant Operators, Engineers, and Managers.

Short-circuiting occurs when wastewater flows through the lagoon unevenly, allowing some of the influent to take a short cut through the cell and bypass the treatment process. Since adequate retention time is critical to lagoon treatment, anything that shortens retention time can result in high BOD and TSS in effluent. In this article, we’ll describe the ways lagoon hydraulics can contribute to short-circuiting, how to diagnose it, and how it can be prevented. Continue reading

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Lagoon Optimization Training with Steve Harris Helps Lagoons Do It Better

lagoon optimization trainingWe’re always a little disheartened when we hear of a facility decommissioning their lagoon in favor of a mechanical treatment plant. While mechanical plants provide excellent effluent quality, for the most part they can be overkill for a small town. With proper lagoon optimization training, a lagoon system can be improved and rehabbed to stay in permit at a fraction of the cost of replacing it.

Even if a new mechanical wastewater facility is funded with block grants or low-interest loans, the additional energy, maintenance, and operations costs make it more expensive than a lagoon. We outline some of these unexpected expenses in our blog, The Hidden Costs of Replacing a Lagoon with a Mechanical Plant.

We’re all about helping Lagoons Do It Better. To that end, we set up periodic lagoon training events in different locations with crack lagoon expert Steve Harris. He has over twenty years’ experience as a lagoon consultant and instructor and literally wrote the book on lagoon troubleshooting and optimization. (If you don’t have a copy of Wastewater Lagoon Troubleshooting: An Operators Guide, we highly recommend you get one. It’s detailed and written in plain language, and it’s our go-to resource for diagnosing, understanding, and solving lagoon issues.) Continue reading

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Pandemic Flu: What It Means for Wastewater Lagoons

The CDC is calling this year’s flu season the worst since 2009, with the double-whammy of an especially deadly strain and a poor match by this year’s flu vaccine. Although the current influenza outbreak is a fraction as severe as the Spanish Flu outbreak of one hundred years ago, and modern antivirals and antibiotics should prevent such a significant loss of life from occurring again, widespread illness can still have a devastating impact on a wastewater facility.

What could a flu pandemic mean for a wastewater lagoon? In this article, we’ll discuss pathogen removal in general and highlight some of the other challenges widespread illness may create for the wastewater lagoon operator. Continue reading

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