Research Article Open Access

Intermittent Aeration in Biological Treatment of Wastewater

H. Doan1 and A. Lohi1
  • 1 Ryerson University, Canada


Problem statement: E-coating process is widely used to provide a protective coating layer on metal parts in the automotive and metal finishing industry. The wastewater from the coating process contains organic compounds that are used in the cleaning, pretreatment and coating steps. Organic pollutants can be removed biologically. In the aerobic biological treatment, water aeration accounts for a significant portion of the total operating cost of the treatment process. Intermittent aeration is thus of benefit since it would reduce the energy consumption in the wastewater treatment. In the present study, wastewater from an electro-coating process was treated biologically using a packed column as an aerator where the wastewater was aerated by a countercurrent air flow. The objective was to obtain an optimum aeration cycle. Approach: Intermittent aeration time was varied at different preset cycles. An operational optimum of the aeration time (or air-water contacting time in the column) was determined from the BOD5 removal after a certain treatment period. For continuous aeration of the wastewater, the air-liquid contacting time in the column was 52 min for 24 h of treatment. A unit energy consumption for pumping liquid and air, which was defined as the energy consumption per percent BOD5 removed, was used as a criterion to determine the optimum contacting time. Results: Optimum air-liquid contacting times were found to be about 38, 26 and 22 min for the treatment times of 24, 48 and 72 h, consecutively. This indicates that 27-58% saving on the unit energy consumption can be achieved using intermittent aeration of the wastewater. On the basis of the overall BOD5 removal, 17% and 23% savings in energy were observed with the intermittent aeration as compared to the continuous aeration of the wastewater for 48 and 72 h. Conclusion: The results obtained indicate that an appropriate intermittent aeration cycle can bring about a substantial energy saving while an adequate treatment of wastewater is maintained.

American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Volume 2 No. 2, 2009, 260-267


Submitted On: 25 August 2008 Published On: 30 June 2009

How to Cite: Doan, H. & Lohi, A. (2009). Intermittent Aeration in Biological Treatment of Wastewater. American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 2(2), 260-267.

  • 35 Citations



  • BOD
  • cyclic aeration
  • wastewater
  • packed column
  • energy conservation