Characterization of the performance of venturi-based aeration devices for use in wastewater treatment in low-resource settings
Keywords:aeration, wastewater treatment, low-resource, venturi, water quality, oxygen transfer
Low-cost aerators relying on the venturi principle to entrain air into flowing water have the notable advantage of contributing both to water mixing and oxygen transfer, making them attractive for wastewater treatment in low-resource settings. This study aimed to characterize the performance of such aerators by describing the impact of different design characteristics, including water flow rate, the number of nozzles used, and the nozzle depth. The study also explored the effect on aeration performance of temperature, total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration, and addition of the archetypal surfactant sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS). Tests were conducted in a 200 L reactor with 2, 3 or 4 nozzles, at depths of 20, 40 or 60 cm, while circulating water through the aeration device at a rate of 400, 600 or 800 L/h. The configuration that yielded the highest mass transfer coefficient (KLa20 of 20.8 h-1) had both the highest flow rate (800 L/h) and the smallest number of nozzles (2). Nozzle depth had no detectable effect on performance. The configuration with the highest standard aeration efficiency (SAE) had a low flow rate (400 L/h) and 4 nozzles. The effect of TDS concentration was not detected in the concentration range typical of domestic wastewater (300–1 250 mg/L). The effect of temperature on KLa followed a first-order exponential curve, as reported in the literature (θ = 1.02). Addition of SDS was found to increase the KLa20 of the tested aerator design by up to 60% of its value in tap water, in contrast to results from literature. The performance data obtained herein was compared to other types of aerators. Though venturi nozzles were found to be less efficient than other available technologies, it is proposed that using plunging rather than immersed venturi nozzles could increase performance to an attractive level for low-resource applications.
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