In today’s economic and social climates, federal and state agencies are increasing their efforts to protect the environment and its inhabitants. In particular, they’re tightening their regulations, pushing municipalities, commercial and industrial entities to engage in more sustainable practices. Proper wastewater treatment is an integral part of these efforts, and many wastewater treatment plants are upgrading their systems to meet or exceed these new regulatory requirements.
For example, located six miles northeast of Durango, CO lies the Edgemont Ranch Metropolitan District — a wastewater treatment facility that is currently engaging in more sustainable wastewater treatment practices thanks to our BIOCOS® technology. Upgrading the plant with this proven treatment solution has improved operations and reduced energy, enabling the facility to comply with more stringent policies, better protect the environment and community and save significant money due to lower energy requirements.
Overcoming Seasonal Effluent Treatment Challenges
The Edgemont Ranch facility services a 710-unit housing development consisting of 35-year-old single-family homes that previously were hunting cabins. When originally built, these cabins all had individual septic systems with minimal treatment processing.
Edgemont Ranch is a part of the Florida River watershed, which is a tributary of the Animas River. Located downstream of the facility are agricultural irrigation reservoirs that had been experiencing algae blooms. In addition, the Florida River is the largest polluter of E. coli to the Animas River — largely a result of many individual septic systems.
Being a single-point source of pollution, as well as increasing algae growth and E. coli populations, Edgemont Ranch’s effluent requirements were changed to stricter discharge limits for ammonia, total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) and other contaminants.
Previously, the treatment facility used a connected series of aerated and non-aerated lagoons to treat wastewater through bacterial degradation. The lagoon’s operation was simple, but it lacked flexibility and featured high energy usage due to older equipment.
In addition, because lagoon-based treatment systems are vulnerable to the cold, Edgemont Ranch couldn’t nitrify for several months of the year due to its high-mountain climate. Relying on legacy treatment systems — or even making small upgrades, such as placing a cover over the lagoons — could not meet the tightening effluent standards.
This is where our BIOCOS treatment technology came in.
This hybrid-activated sludge technology drastically improves wastewater treatment operations compared to conventional systems. It consists of two aeration tanks, hydraulically connected to an alternating pair of sludge recycling and settling tanks. This design allows for continuous wastewater processing and promotes the removal of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) and total phosphorus (TP). The entire process is also highly energy-efficient — cutting energy costs close to 50% — yet providing a higher level of treatment.
Thanks to the BIOCOS system, the facility can now consistently meet its effluent limits. This effluent consists of TIN ranging between 1.5-2.0 mg/L, and the system removes more than 95% of BOD and more than 95% of TSS.
To learn more about how BIOCOS has improved the Edgemont Ranch facility’s operational flexibility and environmental resilience, download our case study.