• Lynne Melvin

Managing the Sludge in Your Sewage Lagoons can Save Thousands of Dollars!

Updated: Feb 7

Why should people in rural municipalities be concerned about the sludge levels in their sewage lagoons?

Many towns have outgrown the capacity of their current sewage lagoon—communities with recent population booms or with older lagoons experiencing sludge levels that are rising faster than expected. Unfortunately, excessively high levels of sludge make it difficult for outdoor lagoons to function correctly.

Strict new guidelines for releasing lagoon effluent to the natural environment have greatly burdened public works managers. Increased sludge levels are a problem as higher sludge creates a shortage of space in the wastewater cell; when this happens, the only remaining solution for the public works manager is to dredge the cell to remove the sludge, which can be costly.

What Can Be Done To Reduce The Sludge Levels in a Sewage Lagoon?

  1. Dredging and Sludge Removal. Extremely difficult and expensive. Ferric chloride or aluminum sulphate are often added to lagoon ponds to bind with phosphorus suspended in the water. These heavy metals make sludge removal even more expensive for the municipality, requiring it all to be transferred by truck to a suitable landfill site capable of receiving heavy metals.

  2. Aeration. The main advantage of a properly aerated lagoon system is reducing the need for frequent sludge removal. Since a large portion of the municipal wastewater consists of biodegradable organic carbon matter, much of the settled sludge in the lagoon can be quickly decomposed by active aerobic or oxygen using professional concentrated beneficial bacteria. If sufficient oxygen is not present in the ponds, the sludge layer will not biodegrade quickly enough to keep the sludge levels at a manageable level. Aeration will provide much-needed dissolved oxygen to assist the aerobic bacteria in digesting the organics in the cell. Aeration can help promote evaporation, reducing the amount of effluent that requires releasing.

  3. Bacteria Treatments. The application of environmentally friendly bacteria & enzymes is beneficial because it works to decompose the organic carbon matter substantially. Several tons of sludge/acre are removed in a single season by merely adding aggressive bacteria treatments to the cells at a considerably lower cost than dredging.

Recommendations for operating your outdoor sewage lagoon:

Closely monitor the levels of the sludge in your lagoon or have it professionally measured.
Reduce the amount of sludge by installing a combination of coarse and fine bubble aeration in your primary lagoon and fine bubble aeration in your secondary cells.
Treat your lagoon aggressively with concentrated professional grade environmentally friendly beneficial bacteria & enzymes. *This recommendation is exceptionally inexpensive when compared to the costs of expansion, dredging or paying fines.

Benefits from adding the combination of aeration, bacteria, and enzymes to your primary and secondary lagoon ponds:

Increase your lagoon capacity by dramatically reducing the sludge levels in your lagoon ponds. Up to 4-8 inches of sludge reduction in the primary cell over the course of 20 weeks of intensive treatment.
Save thousands by avoiding the expense of dredging and trucking hundreds of loads of sludge out of your lagoon.
Reduce odour! Increased odour can be undesirable, especially in your primary or facultative pond, where the most anaerobic decomposition occurs.
The addition of bacteria and enzymes will not damage the lagoon liners or other infrastructure, and they are environmentally safe!

Our precise mapping system allows us to pinpoint high sludge areas in your lagoon strategically. Our lagoon management program explicitly targets these areas to manage troubled areas actively. Talk to us today to find out more!