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PandM Pumps has installed a Vaughan Rotamix system at Basildon sewage treatment works to maximise the benefits of an anaerobic digestion system.

Anglian Water Services (AWS) at Basildon is responsible for the treatment of wastewater and sewage for a residential and business community of more than 300,000.

During excess conditions, the company also assists another major treatment works in Tilbury.

Gas compressor mixing systems were originally installed on the two anaerobic digesters, receiving indigenous sludge from the site where it was digested by bacteria to reduce solids and provide a rudimentary cleansing of the sludge mass.

The digesters harness the mesophilic bacteria to volatise organic mass with the sludge, to produce methane.

The methane is stored in gas bags and then used to heat the digester boilers, which in turn heat the pasteurisers and ultimately provide heating for office buildings at the Basildon site.

Prior to PandM Pumps System Mix installing the two Vaughan Rotamix anaerobic digester mixing systems, AWS was experiencing increasing process problems due to poor mixing in the digester including numerous operational and biological issues.

These key issues were high grit deposition and thus reducing active volume of digesters threatening to significantly reduce output outside compliance requirements.

Also, the compressors required high levels of maintenance and were proving costly to keep running; furthermore, as deposition increased, the maintenance issues escalated.

Foaming issues were also common and although the gas mixing process was not the primary cause, it certainly aggravated the problem.

Not only did the rag mass re-weaving within the digester impair their efficiency, it also caused blockage problems in the heat exchangers and further downstream pumps and systems.

About two years ago AWS decided to replace the gas compressor type mixers with the Rotamix systems.

A spokesman at Basildon STW site said: ‘Since installing the Vaughan Rotamix systems, we are confident that we have seen an increase in the gas yield from the digesters.

‘We think the system has contributed toward there being a reduction in foaming problems, although we are dosing anti-foam, which we were not doing prior to the new mixer installation, so overall we have reduced operational costs,’ he added.

AWS confirms that since installing the Rotamix system the digester temperature range from upper sludge level to tank floor has remained a constant +/-1C, mixing has improved, volatisation of solids is better, gas production has increased and the constant rag issues have been reduced.

AWS added that the externally mounted pumpset and ‘in-situ’ adjustable design make accessibility simple.

The overall performance of the Vaughan Chopper pump has reduced maintenance expenditure.

In fact, after carrying out the yearly inspection on digester pumps one and two, which had been running for 12 months 24/7, all wet end chopping components were showing no wear.

AWS feels that once the two systems are optimised and the operational philosophy is modified, the company will potentially realise at least four to five years normal operation before any replacement spares are required.

P and M Pumps

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