Happy Birthday Activated Sludge!

By Jeanette Brown 

June 17, 2013 

 

One hundred years ago this year, H. W. Clark and S. De M. Gage from the Lawrence Experiment Station in Massachusetts reported results of studies on the purification of sewage using aeration in the 45th Annual Report to the State Board of Health of Massachusetts. They found that if you aerated sewage, you achieved a clarified sewage and a reduction of Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen.  A year later, 1914, a team of British researchers, Edward Ardern and W.T. Lockett, added the concept of recycling sludge, patented the process, and published a paper which first used the term “Activated Sludge.” As we reflect on these past hundred years, we can truly realize the power of these discoveries.

 

While a few plants adopted the activated sludge process early on, its value was not recognized for many years. In fact, the activated sludge process was not implemented in many cities throughout the United States until after the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Over the years, we have modified the process, improved upon it, made it more efficient, and used it to remove nitrogen and
phosphorous as well as carbon.  Moreover, we have come to understand the process on a microbial level, its complexity and power.  I am still overwhelmed when I visit a treatment plant and see the quality of effluent that this amazing process can achieve.

 

Now it may be time to advance beyond activated sludge to newer technologies that can achieve the same or higher levels of treatment with less energy input. Will future technologies be as successful as the activated sludge process?  Only time will tell.  We can also ask what our environment would look like, where we would be, and what we would have missed without the activated
sludge process.  I know what I would have missed: an incredible profession made up of wonderful caring people who I’m lucky to call friends.  So Happy Birthday Activated Sludge, thank you for the past 100-years-- we are all looking forward to an even better next 100!

 

 

 06/17/2013Permanent link

Happy Birthday Activated Sludge!  ()
 

In 1913, H.W. Clark and S. De M. Gage reported results of studies on the purification of sewage using aeration. They found that if you aerated sewage, you achieved a clarified sewage and a reduction of Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen. In 1914, Edward Ardern and W.T. Lockett added the concept of recycling sludge, patented the process, and cointed the term “activated sludge.” Today we can truly realize the power of these discoveries.

Comments (0)


Happy Birthday Activated Sludge!

 Permanent link

Happy Birthday Activated Sludge!

By Jeanette Brown 

June 17, 2013 

 

One hundred years ago this year, H. W. Clark and S. De M. Gage from the Lawrence Experiment Station in Massachusetts reported results of studies on the purification of sewage using aeration in the 45th Annual Report to the State Board of Health of Massachusetts. They found that if you aerated sewage, you achieved a clarified sewage and a reduction of Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen.  A year later, 1914, a team of British researchers, Edward Ardern and W.T. Lockett, added the concept of recycling sludge, patented the process, and published a paper which first used the term “Activated Sludge.” As we reflect on these past hundred years, we can truly realize the power of these discoveries.

 

While a few plants adopted the activated sludge process early on, its value was not recognized for many years. In fact, the activated sludge process was not implemented in many cities throughout the United States until after the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Over the years, we have modified the process, improved upon it, made it more efficient, and used it to remove nitrogen and
phosphorous as well as carbon.  Moreover, we have come to understand the process on a microbial level, its complexity and power.  I am still overwhelmed when I visit a treatment plant and see the quality of effluent that this amazing process can achieve.

 

Now it may be time to advance beyond activated sludge to newer technologies that can achieve the same or higher levels of treatment with less energy input. Will future technologies be as successful as the activated sludge process?  Only time will tell.  We can also ask what our environment would look like, where we would be, and what we would have missed without the activated
sludge process.  I know what I would have missed: an incredible profession made up of wonderful caring people who I’m lucky to call friends.  So Happy Birthday Activated Sludge, thank you for the past 100-years-- we are all looking forward to an even better next 100!

 

 

Posted by Jonathan Byus at 06/17/2013 09:46:19 AM | 


Comments

Brown.jpgPosted by:
Jeanette Brown
Former WEF President
 

Jeanette Brown, a WEF Past President, is currently a professor of Practice at Manhattan College and a Research Scientist at University of Connecticut.

Jeanette has been a WEF member since 1976 and has served on WEF’s House of Delegates since 2004. She has also been a member of or chaired several WEF committees including Operations Challenge, WISE Committee-Developing Guidelines and Training for Wastewater Security, Municipal Wastewater Treatment Design and Technical Practice as well as WEF’s Community of Practice for Microconstituents and as the facilitator for WEF’s HOD Strategic Planning Sessions and Governance. 

 


<< December 2014 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Blog Roll

Archive

Recent Posts