Aerobic treatment occurs when there is sufficient dissolved oxygen available in the waste to allow aerobic bacteria (oxygen-using) to break down the organic matter in the waste. It is essentially an odorless process. Three methods of treatment that use aerobic bacteria are: composting, aerobic lagoons, and spray-runoff.
Composting is accomplished by piling the waste and turning it frequently to provide aeration for aerobic bacterial decomposition while maintaining a high-enough temperature in the pile to destroy pathogenic organisms and weed seeds. The volume of composted waste may be reduced to between 30% and 60% of the volume of the original waste.
An aerobic lagoon is a relatively shallow basin (3 to 5 ft deep) into which a slurry is added. The decomposition of the organic matter is accomplished by aerobic bacteria. Beating or blowing air into the liquid provides oxygen for the bacteria and accelerates the process.
In the spray-runoff treatment, an area is leveled and sloped so that water flows evenly, and then is planted to grass. The bacteria that live on the wet surface of the grass and soil accomplish decomposition of the waste.
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