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  • Septic tank


    A septic tank is an underground chamber made of concrete, fiberglass or plastic through which domestic wastewater (sewage) flows for basic treatment. Settling and anaerobic processes reduce solids and organics, but the treatment efficiency is only moderate (referred to as "primary treatment"). Septic tank systems are a type of simple onsite sewage facility (OSSF). They can be used in areas that are not connected to a sewerage system, such as rural areas. The treated liquid effluent is commonly disposed in a septic drain field which provides further treatment. However, groundwater pollution may occur and can be a problem. The term "septic" refers to the anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the tank which decomposes or mineralizes the waste discharged into the tank. Septic tanks can be coupled with other onsite wastewater treatment units such as biofilters or aerobic systems involving artificially forced aeration. The rate of accumulation of sludge—also called septage or fecal sludge—is faster than the rate of decomposition. Therefore, the accumulated fecal sludge must be periodically removed which is commonly done with a vacuum truck.

  • Anaerobic digestion


    Anaerobic digestion is a collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels. Much of the fermentation used industrially to produce food and drink products, as well as home fermentation, uses anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion occurs naturally in some soils and in lake and oceanic basin sediments, where it is usually referred to as "anaerobic activity". This is the source of marsh gas methane as discovered by Alessandro Volta in 1776. The digestion process begins with bacterial hydrolysis of the input materials. Insoluble organic polymers, such as carbohydrates, are broken down to soluble derivatives that become available for other bacteria. Acidogenic bacteria then convert the sugars and amino acids into carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia, and organic acids. These bacteria convert these resulting organic acids into acetic acid, along with additional ammonia, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. Finally, methanogens convert these products to methane and carbon dioxide. The methanogenic archaea populations play an indispensable role in anaerobic wastewater treatments. Anaerobic digestion is used as part of the process to treat biodegradable waste and sewage sludge. As part of an integrated waste management system, anaerobic digestion reduces the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere. Anaerobic digesters can also be fed with purpose-grown energy crops, such as maize. Anaerobic digestion is widely used as a source of renewable energy. The process produces a biogas, consisting of methane, carbon dioxide, and traces of other ‘contaminant’ gases. This biogas can be used directly as fuel, in combined heat and power gas engines or upgraded to natural gas-quality biomethane. The nutrient-rich digestate also produced can be used as fertilizer. With the re-use of waste as a resource and new technological approaches that have lowered capital costs, anaerobic digestion has in recent years received increased attention among governments in a number of countries, among these the United Kingdom (2011), Germany and Denmark (2011).

  • Storage tank


    Spherical gas tank farm in the petroleum refinery in Karlsruhe MiROStorage tanks are containers that hold liquids, compressed gases (gas tank; or in U.S.A "pressure vessel", which is not typically labeled or regulated as a storage tank) or mediums used for the short- or long-term storage of heat or cold. The term can be used for reservoirs (artificial lakes and ponds), and for manufactured containers. The usage of the word tank for reservoirs is uncommon in American English but is moderately common in British English. In other countries, the term tends to refer only to artificial containers. In the USA, storage tanks operate under no (or very little) pressure, distinguishing them from pressure vessels. Storage tanks are often cylindrical in shape, perpendicular to the ground with flat bottoms, and a fixed flangible or floating roof. There are usually many environmental regulations applied to the design and operation of storage tanks, often depending on the nature of the fluid contained within. Above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) differ from underground storage tanks (USTs) in the kinds of regulations that are applied. Above ground storage tanks can be used to hold materials such as petroleum, waste matter, water, chemicals, and other hazardous materials, all while meeting strict industry standards and regulations. Reservoirs can be covered, in which case they may be called covered or underground storage tanks or reservoirs. Covered water tanks are common in urban areas. Storage tanks are available in many shapes: vertical and horizontal cylindrical; open top and closed top; flat bottom, cone bottom, slope bottom and dish bottom. Large tanks tend to be vertical cylindrical, or to have rounded corners transition from vertical side wall to bottom profile, to easier withstand hydraulic hydrostatically induced pressure of contained liquid. Most container tanks for handling liquids during transportation are designed to handle varying degrees of pressure. A large storage tank is sometimes mounted on a lorry (truck) or on an articulated lorry trailer, which is then called a tanker. In the U.S., air emissions, which correspond to losses for usable liquid commodities and/or salable products, are typically required to undergo air quality permitting under the Federal Clean Air Act. Quantification of potential emissions for permitting purposes is most often accomplished by applying emission equations published in Chapter 7.1 of the U.S. EPA's AP-42: Compilation of Air Emission Factors.

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