“Shallow rural waste treatment systems are inexpensive and extremely effective until they’re not!”
Small communities across rural America use shallow waste treatment systems called facultative lagoons to treat their waste. They are relatively inexpensive to build, cost virtually nothing to operate and run out of sight and out of mind for a long time.
Unfortunately, toxic sludge deposits build up that shut these systems down, cause regulatory noncompliance and cost millions of dollars to fix.
Fortunately, Nano Gas ™ Environmental has invented a new technology that reduces the typical cost of removing organic sludge deposits in facultative lagoons by 90%.
In this post, we’ll show you why the usual lagoon cleaning technique falls short and why ours is better.
What are Facultative Sewage Lagoons?
Facultative lagoons systems consist of a series of ponds into which a waste stream is pumped. The treatment process depends on naturally occurring dissolved oxygen and bacteria to consume the waste and create a sufficiently clean stream coming out of the final pond.
Unlike a typical municipal waste treatment system, there are no mechanical aerators, no separators and no on-site operators. Facultative lagoons are, therefore, inexpensive to build. All you must do is dig a few shallow holes in the ground, line them and pump out the cleaned effluent.
Sewage lagoons are also inexpensive to operate. They do not require people, aeration or separation equipment; instead, you can let nature take care of everything! As a result, they are popular across rural America. The EPA says there are over 7,000 facultative lagoons serving small rural communities across the United States, and that number may be understated. There are many more in rural areas around the world.
What are Common Wastewater Lagoon Problems?
Facultative lagoons work well until the natural cycle gets out of balance and is overloaded. That’s when troubles begin:
- Oxygen levels drop, and naturally occurring waste treatment bacteria disappear.
- Algae builds up.
- Massive organic sludge deposits buildup.
- Nasty odors occur.
- Untreated effluent comes out of the back of the system.
- Climate-damaging methane emissions occur.
- Wildlife is driven away.
As a result, the entire system ceases to function, no longer has enough capacity to support the community and falls out of regulatory compliance.
Experts in rural waste treatment estimate that over 50% of the facultative lagoons in the United States are no longer in regulatory compliance because of problems with algae buildup, sludge buildup and poorly treated waste discharges.
Why is It So Hard to Solve These Problems?
Algae and sludge buildup in facultative lagoons is a difficult problem to solve. To begin with, many of the small communities with facultative lagoons have no natural revenue stream dedicated to maintaining and/or repairing their waste treatment systems.
These rural communities have trusted for years that nature would take its course and naturally treat their waste. Many of the systems are, therefore, not professionally managed and have been out of sight, out of mind until the problems emerge. And very often, that means the problem has grown well beyond its initial stages before anyone wants to talk about solving it.
Communities don’t expect to have to spend money to treat their waste and often don’t have the money, to begin with. So, as they face sludge deposit problems in their facultative lagoon treatment systems, they ask questions and can’t stand the answers!
Conventional Bubblers Don’t Work
Residents ask why they can’t just get a guy with an oxygen pump like they did on their fish tank. Why not bubble in some oxygen and let the bacteria do their thing again?
The problem is this will only work in properly configured municipal waste treatment facilities that are designed to use bubblers. But facultative lagoons are so shallow that bubbles from conventional bubblers escape to the surface and pop before they can do any good. And the sludge levels create an even shallower pond, eliminating the natural water that holds the oxygen. As a result, conventional bubblers do not work.
Destroying the Algae with Chemicals Worsens the Problem
Algae overgrowth is usually one of the first indicators of sewage lagoon problems. Communities are often tempted to get rid of this algae with chemicals. The issue with this is the chemicals they use to kill algae often worsen the underlying problem by creating more sludge. Therefore, effective lagoon wastewater treatment also requires a chemical-free solution.
Other Options are Too Expensive
That leaves two expensive solutions. One solution is to build a whole new facultative system and fill in the old one. A quick estimate typically shows that this option is the most costly.
The second solution is to dredge the sludge out of the existing system. People quickly discover that that solution is very expensive as well. For example, one small town in Texas was faced with the need to spend $1 million to dredge its system that supported 300 families. They didn’t have the money, but they had no choice but to fix the problem.
Why is Lagoon Dredging So Expensive?
Lagoon dredging involves using heavy machinery to break up and stir the excess debris caked on the bottom of the lagoon. Next, a vacuum sucks the debris out of the lagoon and stores it in a holding tank. Workers then dispose of it as physical waste.
As you might imagine, the large machinery required for dredging is not cheap. The process of removing and transporting the sludge is also laborious and time-consuming, requiring many hours of intensive labor.
Because of this, the estimated cost of removing just one ton of sludge is around $350. Since lagoons often accumulate thousands of tons of sludge, the total price tag for removing it typically lands somewhere near $1 million!
No small town in America has an extra $1 million just lying around. So, what are these communities to do if the standard technique for fixing sewage lagoon problems isn’t a viable option?
As is the case in many areas of our society, scientific advances have opened new doors for rural wastewater lagoons, too.
Using Science to Create a More Affordable Solution
What if, instead of manually cleaning the lagoon, we could cause the lagoon to clean itself naturally? This question is what drives our work here at Nano Gas™ Environmental. And we’re thrilled to say that we’ve managed to make the hypothetical a reality with our nanobubble solutions.
By injecting the lagoon with tiny bubbles of gas, we generate the necessary chemical, physical and biological reactions to eliminate the sludge, algae and toxins. In other words, the lagoon cleans itself from the inside out!
This may sound too good to be true, but we have the science and results to back it up.
The trillions of nanobubbles we generate are uniquely suited to clean even the dirtiest lagoon water. This is because, unlike other nanobubble equipment, ours does not clog in extremely polluted water. Nano Gas™ nanobubbles remain suspended in the solution releasing the oxygen and other gases necessary to fix the problem.
The technology is not remotely as expensive as the machinery required for dredging. Whereas dredging often costs over $1 million, our tech gets it done for less than $100,000.
How do we know for sure it’s less expensive? We’ve already effectively implemented the process at a low price for a small community in New Home, TX. We’d be happy to do the same for you!
How to Clean a Sewage Lagoon the Nano Gas™ Environmental Way
What does your community get for that much lower price? It receives an experienced team that will provide a custom solution perfectly suited for cleaning your lagoon.
Our team understands no two sewage lagoons have the same problems. Each lagoon requires a unique combination of treatment techniques for effective cleaning. Therefore, we’ll take the time to thoroughly analyze your lagoon to develop our plan of attack.
This analysis includes several key steps, including:
- Bathymetric testing
- Toxin analysis
- Algae inspection
- Bacteria DNA testing
- Bacteria and enzyme enhancement
- Nanobubble creation and injection
- Treatment monitoring
- Ongoing maintenance
Here’s an overview of how each of these steps works and what you can expect throughout the process:
We first need to determine how much sludge is in the lagoon and whether it’s organic or inorganic. We do this through an underwater sonar mapping technique known as bathymetric testing. This test allows us to get an accurate picture of how thick the sludge layer is at the bottom of the lagoon. It also shows us how deep the water is. This is important because nanobubbles don’t require deep lagoons to work effectively.
Next, we analyze the composition of the sludge to determine if it consists of organic or inorganic material. Our nanobubble technology will only work if the sludge is organic because that’s the type of sludge bacteria naturally consume. We cannot clean inorganic sludge with natural nanobubble techniques. Instead, this type of sludge requires standard dredging.
If the bathymetric testing shows the lagoon is a good candidate for nanobubble treatment, we’ll continue to the next step. Prime wastewater lagoons for treatment contain mostly organic sludge.
Next, we’ll test for any toxins in the water. This step is important because it may identify toxins that require different types of treatment than the organic sludge. We will then add the necessary treatments for whatever toxins we find when we implement our solution.
We’ll also check the amount of algae buildup in the sewage lagoon. Algae growth indicates that there’s not enough oxygen in the lagoon for bacteria to eat the sludge. Therefore, the number of algae helps us decide how much oxygen we need to inject into the lagoon through our nanobubbles.
Bacteria DNA Testing
Our team will next perform a DNA test to see which types of bacteria are already present in the lagoon and which types you need. Sewage lagoons develop problems when bacteria stop growing and eating away at the sludge due to a lack of oxygen. So, we’ll get to the bottom of what’s going on with the bacteria and determine what we need to do to get them eating again.
Nanobubble Creation and Injection
Once we perform all these tests, we’ll have a thorough idea of what’s going on in the lagoon. At this point, we’ll be ready to create a custom solution to get your lagoon clean again.
This solution will primarily feature our nanobubbles, which we will create using whatever gases are necessary for effective cleaning. Typically, the gas we use will be oxygen because it promotes bacteria growth and kills algae. However, we sometimes also create bubbles with other gases that will neutralize toxins.
We’ll also sometimes use other techniques along with the nanobubbles for the most effective cleaning possible. For example, we will add specific bacteria to the lagoon that are uniquely suited to clean it. We’ll also supplement our nanobubble technology with other devices to fully handle neutralizing the toxins.
Once our solution is ready, we’ll add it to the lagoon and closely monitor its progress.
One of the nice things about our technology is that it’s fully automated to maintain the optimal amount of nanobubbles throughout the process. Our team will also closely monitor the treatment to ensure everything is going smoothly.
We typically start to see positive results within the first few days, such as algae and methane removal. If all goes according to plan, the lagoon should be back to its old clean self again as soon as a month!
Ongoing Lagoon Maintenance
Of course, it’s one thing to get your wastewater lagoon clean again, but it’s much better to keep it that way. For this reason, our team also provides ongoing maintenance services to keep the lagoon from getting out of control. While this requires additional service, it’s much better than having to pay a fortune every few years when your lagoon becomes overrun with sludge again!
Need Help with Sewage Lagoon Problems in Your Region?
Rural communities shouldn’t be punished with seven-figure costs for dredging their lagoons. Instead, you deserve a dedicated team of experts who will use a scientifically proven process to keep your lagoon clean—and will do it for a much lower price!