Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment

Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on May 8, 2018
aerobic vs. anaerobic wastewater treatment

Two primary types of wastewater treatment processes are aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment help prevent waterborne diseases and improve the biological water quality, which is necessary for a population’s overall health. These two treatment options have distinctive similarities and differences.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment

One key difference between aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment is the process by which the treatment mechanisms work.

Aerobic Process in Wastewater Treatment

In the aerobic process, air is circulated throughout a treatment in order to cause bacteria that break down waste within the wastewater. Electricity is used throughout the process. Some systems may use a pre-treatment process that reduces solids that aerobic bacteria may have difficulty compressing.

The aerobic bacteria in sewage treatment feed on the water, which is mixed with air. The bacteria reproduce and continue to attack the waste, with some waste settling on the bottom of water as sludge. This sludge may be pumped out of the system so that the system is not clogged. A disinfectant may be used at the final stage, possibly along with a filtering process.

Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment Process

The anaerobic wastewater treatment uses anaerobic bacteria that change organic matter into organisms that contain large quantities of methane gas and carbon dioxide. In some systems, this process is used as a pre-treatment to aerobic wastewater treatment. The professionals at AOS can discuss various municipal wastewater treatment options including aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment processes.

Uses of Aerobic and Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment Processes

Aerobic and anaerobic treatment of wastewater may involve different applications. Anaerobic treatment of wastewater may be used to treat industrial wastewater. This type of wastewater often contains high levels of organic matter in warmer temperatures. Anaerobic treatment systems may be used in areas where a central treatment plant is not possible. They can also be used in individual households or in small shared facilities.

aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment process

In contrast, aerobic treatment of wastewater is more often used in rural areas or small communities where a central facility is not practical to implement. Additionally, the aerobic process in wastewater treatment may be utilized when the water table is too high for a septic system to work efficiently or to replace a failing septic system.

Our professionals at AOS can discuss the water treatment services that can best serve your needs.

Costs of Aerobic and Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment

Aerobic treatment units are typically more expensive to operate than alternative processes. The operation requires continued use of electricity, and solids must be pumped out of the system frequently. Additionally, professionals must inspect and maintain electrical and mechanical components. The septic tanks must also be maintained. However, the quality of the water is often improved with the implementation of aerobic wastewater treatment.

In comparison, the anaerobic wastewater treatment process is typically more economically friendly for the following reasons:

  • The anaerobic treatment of wastewater generates much less sludge than the aerobic treatment does.
  • The sludge produced in anaerobic wastewater treatment can be used for soil enrichment.
  • There are lower costs required to handle sludge compared to those incurred in aerobic treatment.
  • Fewer chemicals are used in the process when compared to aerobic wastewater treatment.
  • The biogas can be used to produce electricity and heat and serve as a renewable energy source that effectively replaces fossil fuels.

However, the anaerobic wastewater treatment process provides some oversight to ensure that the methane-rich biogases are properly released. Methane should be flared to minimize its environmental impact.

Contact AOS today to discuss water treatment services that are targeted to your particular needs.


Posted Under: Wastewater Treatment Solutions