All Things Biosolids Continued…

This column picks up by returning to the question, “How do you create value in biosolids?” One way is to stabilize them – make a Class A EQ biosolids. So, I put together the Thermal Process Systems ThermAer ATAD Seminar. The seminar was co-hosted by the staffs of the Bowling Green WPCF and the Fremont WRC. Operators from treatment plants across the state attended to learn about the ThermAer digestion process and how they could benefit from it.

The Seminar started with a classroom presentation with design engineer Kevin Staton, from Thermal Process Systems, presenting the basic biology and chemistry of the ThermAer. He then talked about how the ThermAer would fit in and operate at a typical wastewater treatment plant.

What the attendees learned is the ThermAer is an aerobic digestion process that produces a highly stabilized Class A EQ biosolid. While there are few biosolids stabilization processes to choose from, the ThermAer is great fit for wastewater treatment plants in the 2 to 10 MGD range. It doesn’t require an extra process step to get biosolids to Class A EQ status. Unlike biosolids dryers, the ThermAer achieves Class A EQ status through the aerobic digestion process itself. No extra energy or steps are required. The ThermAer is an excellent way for treatment plants to get a highly stabilized biosolid that is pathogen free very low odors. When I smell dewatered biosolids from the ThermAer I say they smell like soil. I admit that I don’t have the most sensitive nose, but they are relatively odor-free.

Kevin’s presentation was followed by Doug Clark’s, Superintendent of the Bowling Green WPCF, presentation “BG’s 15 Years with the ThermAer”. In his presentation Doug held nothing back and described all the ups and downs of living with the ThermAer. Doug concluded saying the process has worked very well for Bowling Green. They no longer land apply their biosolids, but now give all of them to a local soil blender who makes top soil out of it which he sell to landscapers. Doug’s presentation was followed by a tour of BG’s ThermAer conducted by Raymond Cully, BG’s Sludge Coordinator.

Next stop was Fremont, Ohio and the Fremont WRC where superintendent Jeff Lamson presented “Life with the ThermAer at the Fremont WRC”. Jeff did not pull any punches and described some of the issues they’re having with their ThermAer and how they’re working through them. Jeff said most of the issues they’re having can be attributed to overloading the ThermAer. Fremont is currently processing nearly 50% more solids than the ThermAer was designed to handle. Jeff concluded his presentation saying that Kevin Staton and Thermal Process Systems have worked with him and his operators to find more capacity in the ThermAer, but it has been a challenge. Following the presentation Fremont WRC operators led tours of the ThermAer.

Of course I’m biased, but I feel the seminar was a success and the operators that attended were glad they came. I plan to hold another ThermAer seminar next year. Send me an email ( if you think you’d like to attend. As was said in my previous blog, it is much easier to land apply a highly stabilized biosolid. The ThermAer can help plants get their biosolids out of the landfill or improve their land application program if they’re already land applying their biosolids.

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