How Colder Temperatures Can Impact Your Wastewater Lagoon:

The cold weather has well and truly set in so if you haven’t already, now is the time to think about how that affects your wastewater lagoon. While those of us in Australia won’t be hit as badly as some other parts of the world, it can still get pretty dam cold and lower temperatures can have quite a significant impact on how your lagoon functions. The biggest potential issue for you here, will be the way in which your beneficial bacteria slow down when they get cold. This is because your nitrifying friends prefer to live in water temperatures between the mid twenties and thirties and when their home drops below this, they will slow down their digestive processes. This allows your BOD to rise, decreases water quality and leads to a not so fun time all around. When this happens, your sludge and FOG levels will rise accordingly which further decreases the quality of your ecosystem and effectiveness of your treatment.

Colder water also means less phosphorus will dissipate from your treatment lagoons which can lead to the need for an additional filtration system in some instances. This is because the loss of influent phosphorus from your water is, much like your friendly bacteria, temperature sensitive and dependent, and therefore lower during these months.

On a simpler level, the colder weather may also cause damage to your structures and equipment. While we aren’t as likely to end up with entirely frozen landscapes as other parts of the world, many parts of Australia get cold enough to sustain ice and snow and those that don’t still have to deal with frost and other, less than ideal, conditions. This can be particularly bad for treatment facilities that rely strongly on their surface level solutions for oxygenation, due to the fact that not only is this type of machinery more likely to freeze than its sub-surface counterparts but also because losing surface area to ice, frost or snow also greatly depletes oxygen. Once your dissolved oxygen levels fall, anaerobic bacteria and conditions thrive and if they manage to take over, your lagoon may as well change its name to sludge city.

One of the biggest risks at this time of year, however, is how the changes your lagoon is going through now can build up to create some pretty major issues come Springtime. Once anaerobic bacteria start digesting things and releasing gaseous byproducts, your sludge gets a lovely boost and everything gets trapped under the surface since the top layers or your water body are now colder, and therefore, denser. When your lagoon starts to warm up again, and dissolved oxygen levels once again rise, you get a burst of biological activity with friendly microbes feasting on all the nasty stuff that has built up over the colder months. This can then lead to your sludge rising to the top of your lagoon thanks to all that gas it has trapped inside it, which results in a bad look and disgusting smell, two things no-one ever wants. This process, known as inversion, is far better off prevented than treated so getting on top of things before all this can happen is ideal.

So, how do you combat all this? The easiest way is through proper aeration and treatments and we’re here to help. Give us a call on 1300 283 387 to discuss your options today.

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