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How Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities Can Benefit From Robotic Tank Cleaning

 In Tank Cleaning

Industrial tank cleaning hasn’t changed for decades — but recently, facilities have started transitioning to a more efficient process.

Robotic tank cleaning paves the way for a safer and more cost-efficient cleaning process — this modern way of cleaning benefits many industries, specifically the wastewater treatment industry.

Different types of tanks are used in the wastewater treatment process. Each needs to be cleaned periodically and properly — from aeration tanks to gas tanks, centrifuge tanks, settling tanks, and everything in between.

Let’s take a look at the top three ways that robotic tank cleaning benefits wastewater treatment facilities. 


Benefits of Robotic Tank Cleaning During Primary Wastewater Treatment

After the screening process is done and the majority of the large solids are separated from the water, wastewater moves onto the primary treatment stage. 

When wastewater is sitting in settling tanks or clarifiers, the remaining solids naturally separate to sink to the bottom of the tank or float to the top. In order to properly clean this water, the sludge and solids must be removed.

Typically, the sludge removal process in this stage is done by humans manually scraping away or done automatically by mechanical scrapers. The problem with these conventional tank cleaning methods is that workers are put in contact with hazardous materials, and both mechanical scrapers and humans can easily leave sludge behind.

Proper sludge removal in the primary stage is critical.  

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With robotic tank cleaning, a human controls the robots from afar, ensuring no sludge is overlooked for a safe removal process.

We have seen cost savings for a bulk removal project done robotically vs. manually save our clients 20% to 25% on overall costs.

The primary treatment stage “removes up to 50% of the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD; these are substances that use up the oxygen in the water), around 90% of suspended solids, and up to 55% of fecal coliform,” (source) but a secondary treatment is still essential.

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How Robotic Tank Cleaning Helps Secondary Wastewater Treatment

After the primary treatment process is complete, the water is transferred into secondary clarifier tanks, where bacteria are used to remove any leftover pollutants. According to the EPA, about 85% of organic matter is removed in this stage.

Anaerobic bacteria feed off of the sludge for 10 to 20 days as the water sits in a tank. This process decreases the odor and amount of sludge. The water is then sterilized by using chlorine, UV, or ozone before it gets discharged.

Similarly to the primary treatment stage, there is sludge that gets sent to another storage chamber where the leftover sludge can be cleaned with robotic tank cleaners.

Sludge removal will always be necessary for the treatment process; there is no way to remove this step. 

When sludge removal isn’t disposed of properly, it can lead to toxic chemicals seeping into the soil around the tanks, flowing into oceans, lakes, and ponds — which affects local wildlife and nearby inhabitants. On the other hand, when it is appropriately removed, sludge can be heated to reduce bacteria and then used for fertilizer at agricultural facilities.   

When sludge is separated from the wastewater, it is sent to a centrifuge tank.


Use Robotic Tank Cleaning for Your Centrifuge Tank

A centrifuge is where most of the sludge is stored at wastewater treatment facilities. This machine spins quickly, forcing the liquids to separate from the solids.

Cleaning your tanks with robots will get the job done faster and more efficiently than if you used humans to do the same task. The less downtime you need, the better your facility runs.


Robotic Tank Cleaning Will Help Your Wastewater Treatment Facility

All three tanks used in municipal facilities rely on appropriate cleaning and sludge removal to work efficiently. 

Although most sludge is processed in the centrifuge, and in some cases a filter press, leftover sludge can build up in settling tanks and secondary clarifier tanks.

Using robotic tank cleaning will increase efficiency by eliminating human exposure, cutting costs, and reducing facility downtime.


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