The Vortex Sewage Treatment Process (Schematic diagram only - (See Figure 1 below)
Wastewater from the building enters to Vibro-Screen (1). Here, coarse air bubbles, coming from the yellow pipe, are used to physically break down solid matter and form a mixed liquor with the water.
The mixed liquor flows into the Aeration Chamber (2 ). A bacterial culture is present in the Aeration Chamber which digests the pollutants in the wastewater. The bacterial culture must have a constant oxygen supply and this is provided by a fine bubble diffuser at the base of the tank.
The mixed liquor then flows into the Clarification Chamber (3) where it is able to separate into clear, treated effluent and sludge. The clear effluent is able to flow through the scum baffle and out of the tank.
UNIQUE FEATURE - Simple manual valves allow the air flow to be adjusted. This enables the plan to work at maximum efficiency if it is underloaded. This is a very valuable feature, e.g. for a 5 bedroom house (which needs a minimum 7 person plant) with only 2 people resident. This feature is not available on any other plant.
Vortex reduced the Phosphorous levels in the raw sewage down to 2.9mg/litre, during its EN12566-3 test.
The Sludge Management System (SMS) Figures 2 and 3 on the diagrams below this section
In the Clarification Chamber, sludge accumulates at the bottom (settled sludge) and top (floating sludge) of the tank.
Settled Sludge is 'live' sludge that contains active bacteria that were washed into the clarification chamber with the effluent from the Aeration Chamber.
Floating Sludge is 'dead' sludge that is composed of dead bacteria, which rise to the top, like dead fish do - plus small floating solids and fats.
Air from the blower is distributed by the regulator to two sludge return pipes, Figure 2 shows the Settled Sludge Return Pipe.
This creates a vacuum that sucks the sludge from the bottom of the Clarification Chamber and transfers it back to the Vibro-Screen.
This has several advantages for the treatment system.
It provides additional 'food' for the bacteria in the aeration chamber and allows the plant to re-digest a lot of its waste products, enabling a longer period between emptyings. It 'seeds' the incoming sewage with the correct type of bacteria needed to digest the sewage.
Unique Automatic Floating Sludge Return (FSR), Figure 3
In all Activated Sludge Process (ASP) sewage treatment plants, dead, floating sludge accumulates at the top of the Clarification Chamber. This sludge must be periodically returned,to the Aeration Chamber, or it will become so deep that it will be be taken into the bottom of the outlet baffle and contaminate the final effluent.
If this happens, it will block the drainage field; which is VERY expensive to replace, or pollute the watercourse that the sewage treatment plant discharges into.
With ALL other ASP plants, the transfer of this dead floating has to be done, rountinely, by hand, by the owner and it is not a pleasant task! This is never mentioned in the brochure, only in the operational manual.
All Vortex plants come with the automatic FSR fitted as standard.
The Automatic FSR enables the Vortex to automatically recycle the floating sludge in the Clarification Chamber back to the Vibro-Screen without the need for the owner to do anything.
No other ASP sewage treatment plant has this ability to manage its own floating sludge.
The FSR kit can also be fitted retrospectively to existing, older Vortex plants very easily.