Conference Papers | 2008 Conference Papers
CLEANING OF DIFFUSERS AT EDGEWORTH WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
John Stevens, Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, Hunter Water
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The Edgeworth WWTW catchment area is 65,000 E.P. and treats an approx ADWF of 16ML/day. Edgeworth WWTW services the
areas of Charlestown, Hillsborough, Cardiff, Boolaroo, Speers Point, Glendale, Edgeworth, Barnsley and Killingworth.
Some of these areas, notably Cardiff and Hillsborough, contain industrial areas. There are a number of trade waste
customers throughout the catchment
The original Edgeworth WWTW was constructed in 1933. The original plant consisted of primary sedimentation followed
by four trickling filters and two humus tanks. Sludge was digested using covered cold anaerobic digesters.
The old plant was augmented in the following stages:
• 1968 Circular primary sedimentation tank
• 1971 Two additional trickling filters and an additional humus tank
• 1979 A heated digester control building, maturation pond and sludge lagoon
• 1980 New inlet works
• 1985 Two additional primary sedimentation tanks
In 1996 a new activated sludge plant was constructed and commissioned at the site.
Secondary treatment at Edgeworth Wastewater Treatment Works is by Modified Lutzack Ettinger (MLE) process. Flow is
directed continuously between two bioreactors, which have an anoxic zone and an aerobic zone. Porous polyethylene
disc diffusers supply air to the aerobic zones. There are 1306 diffuser discs in each bioreactor. These diffusers
are subject to fouling and deterioration and need to be cleaned periodically. The inner surfaces may become clogged
with air borne dust if the blower inlet air filtration system is defective. The outer surfaces become coated in
attached biological and inorganic slimes. There has been excessive prolonged air outages due to power surges and
blackouts and this will have contributed to solids settling on or entering the diffuser openings, adding to the
fouling problem. Increased backpressure on the blowers and reduced oxygen transfer (seen in the inability to meet
DO set points) are the best indicators of diffuser deterioration.
Figure 1: HWC’s Edgeworth WWTW
To keep the plant operating at its optimum level, a number of different methods were trialled to clean the
diffusers. Finally a method was devised where the bioreactors were only offline for a short amount of time.
This is important to maintain adequate treatment. This paper will briefly describe the methods trialled and the
procedure selected which now allows the quick and safe cleaning of the diffusers and the return of the bioreactors
to service with minimum disruption to the process.