MDF Biological Treatment Plant Recovery

An international MDF manufacturing plant had upgraded its effluent treatment plant to deal with an increased effluent discharge to accommodate changes in the production process. Unfortunately during the commissioning stage the existing activated sludge plant suffered two upsets resulting in the destruction of the existing biomass. The plant was in danger of exceeding the terms of its IPPC Licence threatening production schedules.

SNF were asked to provide assistance in recovering the plant after tertiary chemical dosing was eliminated as temporary measure to maintain compliance. To resolve the immediate issues and future proof the plant against similar upsets, SNF undertook the project management and provision of technical advice to recover the plant and provide a number of management and operation tools for its future operation.

To achieve this, a comprehensive analysis was under taken under SNF’s direction to identify the causes of the problems in terms of incoming loading and biological characteristics. In parallel SNF also procured a temporary filtration unit to reduce the TSS leaving the plant until the biological treatment could be established. An analysis of the plants historical performance was undertaken to identify the optimal FM and Sludge ages was undertaken simultaneously.

To recover the Activated Sludge plant a number of actions were developed:

  • A biological solids management plan was developed for the day to day operation to ensure that sufficient Biomass is available for the loadings arising
  • A loading management system was developed to ensure that the plant was operated to minimise disturbance
  • A series of automated alarms in the primary and waste stream were installed and SOPs were developed to ensure that shock loadings are prevented
  • The existing oil based antifoam product was replaced with a SNF product which did not affect the DO concentrations in the plant adversely
  • A bacterial dosing regime was developed and implemented to recover plant after shutdown periods
  • Abbeywater developed a site specific training course for all stakeholders to ensure that the operating plans and SOPs are adhered to and understood

In a period of 2 months the plant recovered to full capacity and a plant shutdown was successfully recovered from. The operating regime, identified and supported throughout by SNF, has kept facility within consent.



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