Floating & Suspended Solids

Does your wastewater treatment system have a problem with floating or suspended solids? Is it a constant problem or an occasional problem?

There are several situations that may be the culprit. Below are some solutions to floating or suspended solids.

Excess Oxidizer

Residual oxidizer in process waters, rinse waters or after cyanide treatment may cause a floating floc problem. You can determine this one of two ways: check the ORP to see if you have a high positive value or add a reducer (sodium bisulfite or metabisulfite) to your jar test. If the floc sinks to the bottom it would indicate residual oxidizer. Oxidizers that may affect floc include: peroxide, permanganate, nitrates, nitrites, perchlorates, bleach, etc. On occasion, floc will also rise to the top with time.

Excess Polymer

Floating floc can also be a consequence of over-adding your flocculant polymer. Typically flocculant polymers are made up at 0.1%/wt in a day tank and dosed 5-10 ppm for metals and slightly higher for a cationic flocculant. The floc size you look for is typically a medium size floc that settles to the bottom (unless you have a DAF system). A large floc maybe an indication your feed rate is too high and too much polymer is entering the tank. This can be adjusted for your water flow until you see the turnover floc changes to the size that settles the best for your clarifier.

Flow Rate is Too High in the Incoming Water

If you have a short contact time due to your flow rate being high this could lead to an increase in polymer feed and would not give enough for the floc to form before entering into the clarifier. The simple thing would be to try to cut back on your flow rate to see if this improves.

Bacteria or Induced Air

Growth or carryover of bacteria in the waste water generates oxygen and will float any solids to the top. If there is a pocket of old solids on the bottom of the system this can lead to bacterial growth along with shutting a system down in the middle of operation. This allows any bacteria present to utilize nutrients in the water to feed on and outgas. Any source of induced air can latch on to the floc. Foam on top of the premix tank can also latch on to floc. This is why air lines are not used for mixing in wastewater systems.

Need For Weightier Floc

The addition of inorganic salts followed by a flocculant may not correct a floating floc problem, even after massing together. This situation may require the use of a heavier coagulant or the use of a different flocculant. These two situations need to be jar tested to determine the best course of action.

Recommended Products

 Aquapure™ HQ A liquid reducer, bisulfite based for easy metering to lower ORP values. Is usually added on the acid side or at a pH of 2.0 for Chrome reduction. 
 Aquapure™ SHS A strong powdered reducer that works well for an acid pH to alkaline. This product can be added as a reducer or to address hex chrome carryover from cleaners and works well on the alkaline side as well as the acid side.
 Aquapure™ I-300 This coagulant offers the weight of an iron bearing coagulant without the sludge generation of ferrous sulfate. Because of the conditioning agents, Aquapure I-300 allows for a lower dose and compacts the formed sludge to a measurable mass for further thickening. Aquapure I-300 also reduces hex chrome at pH other than 2.0 for easy removal.
 Aquapure™ DF-SI This defoamer offers the best knockdown of foam within the quickest time. Can be added in the equalization tank to head off any problems that may arise from foam or floating floc anywhere along the wastewater system. May also be added as a dilute solution 0.1% (as an antifoam) or added as a concentrate tank side for quick knockdown of an unexpected foam problem.