Aerobic Ponds

Of all the biological treatment process designs, the stabilization pond design is the least defined. Aerobic stabilization ponds contain bacteria and algae in suspension under aerobic conditions. Aerobic ponds are of two basic types. In one type, the objective is to maximize algae production. These aerobic ponds generally operate at depths of 0.15 m to 0.45 m. In the other type of aerobic ponds, the amount of oxygen produced is maximized, and depths range to 1.5 m. Shallower depths encourage rooted aquatic plant growth, interfering with the treatment process. However, greater depths can interfere with mixing and oxygen transport from the surface. To achieve the best results with aerobic ponds, wastewater treatment facilities should provide mixing with pumps or surface aerators.

Environmental engineers usually base the aerobic pond process design on the organic loading rates and hydraulic retention times derived from pilot-plant studies and observations of operating systems. They adjust the pond loading rate to reflect the oxygen available from photosynthesis and atmospheric reaeration. Frequently, environmental engineers design large aerobic pond systems as completely mixed reactors, with two or three reactors in series.

Another design approach involves the use of a first-order, removal-rate equation developed by Wehner and Wilhelm (Metcalf and Eddy, Inc. 1991). This equation describes the substrate removal for an arbitrary flow-through pattern that lies somewhere between completely mixed and plug-flow as follows:

S/So = 4ae-(1/2d)/[(1 + a)2e-(a/2d) - (1 - a)2e-(a/2d)] 7.27(1)


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