Soil is nature’s treatment system; it is hard to beat Mother Nature. Soil physically strains suspended matter from water. Soil is rich in a diverse community of micro organisms and micro nutrients, a combination that is ideally suited for the renovation of wastewater. Soil also maintains a constant, moderate, temperature; this is extremely important for consistent wastewater treatment. What soil lacks is oxygen.
When soil is lightly loaded with wastewater, treatment levels are difficult to beat. However, due to space constraints, wastewater is often loaded at levels that overwhelm the ability of the soil to transfer oxygen. When oxygen is limited, the microbial community becomes similarly limited, diminishing treatment and hydraulic performance suffers.
With SoilAir optimum levels of oxygen can be maintained in and around the leaching system. With SoilAir, leaching system performance is no longer a gamble, but assured.
This enhanced treatment allows leach fields to treat water in smaller spaces and with reduced separation to the water table and other limiting zones. The use of SoilAir is especially important in sensitive environments such as proximity to wetlands, lakes, watersheds, estuaries, etc.
Since air contains 21,000 times more oxygen than water, biological oxygen demand (B.O.D.) and total suspended solids (TSS) can be readily treated with this technology. Wastewater with B.O.D. in excess of 2,000 mg/l can be reduced to less than 10 mg/l. Even high strength waste streams that are challenging to pretreatment systems can be readily treated by SoilAir. In certain cases leach fields served by pretreatment systems can be further amended by SoilAir for increased performance. TSS removal responds in a similar manner to B.O.D.
SoilAir has been proven to increase the pathogen removal rate of traditional leach fields' a one (1) log increase of fecal coliform removal is routine. Flowing air through soil eliminates saturated flow; this is the predominate mechanism for pathogen transport. Additionally, SoilAir increases predatory micro-organisms such as nematodes; which will consume pathogens such as fecal coliform.
SoilAir has been proven to remove up to 75% of Total Nitrogen in third party studies CICEET/NOAA. The SoilAir process is similar to that of a sequencing batch reactor. In the first step, air is introduced into the leach field and surrounding soil, this provides nitrification. Secondly, the blower is turned off and anoxic wastewater, containing carbon, is directed into the leaching structure resulting in denitrification. SoilAir has been utilized successfully to treat nitrogen plumes in the groundwater, dropping groundwater total nitrogen concentrations by over 75%.
SoilAir is one of only a few technologies that can enhance phosphorus removal; this occurs in two distinctly different mechanisms. The first mechanism is similar to enhanced biological phosphorus removal utilized in larger municipal wastewater treatment plants. The second mechanism results from maintaining atmospheric levels of oxygen in the soil adjacent to the leach field. This is not the case with a traditional leach field which are anaerobic and reduced and consequently allow iron and other beneficial minerals to become soluble and the stripped from soil beneath the leach field. Conversely, with SoilAir, the soil is aerobic and retains the iron in an oxide form. With SoilAir the iron is available to allow the phosphorus to bind to the soil particles.
The application of SoilAir to existing systems has resulted in the reduction of phosphorus concentrations in down gradient monitoring wells and lysimeters.
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