Monthly Archives: August 2023

What to Look For When Choosing a Wastewater Clarifier

A wastewater clarifier is an important component in removing solids to start separating them from the water. It’s an important step when it comes to the first steps in removing sludge. The sludge goes to incinerators or landfills, while the liquids proceed to the next steps in wastewater treatment.

When wastewater comes into your facility, primary clarification is the first step. Suspended solids and FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease) rise to the top of the water while sludge sinks. Those solids and sludge both need to be removed. Primary clarification usually removes around 60% of suspended solids, but this success rate depends on how effective your clarifier is.

Consider These Points When Choosing a Clarifier

How do you know which clarifier is right for your needs? It comes down to the wastewater you treat. If your plant takes a large percentage of hauled septage, you might have more solids than from a small town with a sewer. In a large city, you might end up with a lot of trash or dead animals that end up in the sewers. All of this is important to consider.

  • Flow Rate: How much wastewater comes into your plant each day? A city with 50,000 residents is going to have much slower flow rates than a city with a large industrial area and millions of residents. Your clarifier has to be able to handle the flow rate you experience.
  • Solids Loading: Solids loading is defined as the percentage of suspended solids in your wastewater. 
  • Sludge Characteristics: Sludge is a mix of solids, organic and inorganic materials, and liquids that sink to the bottom of chambers in the wastewater treatment process. If you have thicker sludge, one clarifier might work better than another option.
  • Budget: Your budget is important when choosing a clarifier. If you can’t afford the equipment without drastically increasing your municipality’s rates, it’s going to be a tough sell to the people in your community. You have to stick to the budget you have and avoid going too much over it.
  • Available Space: What space do you have available? Make sure the equipment you want to purchase will fit the space. Otherwise, you may need to expand or figure out another option.
  • Maintenance Needs: Do you have a full-time maintenance crew devoted to going from one part of your facility to the next? If they are already struggling to keep up, a high-maintenance machine is going to add to their problems. You need to make sure the equipment is easy to maintain and won’t require additional staffing if there’s no budget or time to train new workers.

What Are the Different Types of Clarifiers?

Every wastewater treatment equipment and process solutions specialist has preferred clarification equipment. These are the options that are out there.

  • Dissolved Air Floatation Clarifiers: Dissolved air floatation (DAF) or Lamella clarifiers use air to remove suspended matter from the surface of treated wastewater. It’s best for wastewater that has a high level of FOG and suspended solids. 
  • Membrane Filtration: Membrane filtration, such as ultrafiltration clarifiers rely on hydrostatic pressure to push wastewater liquid against a semi-permeable membrane. That membrane collects the suspended solids.
  • Sludge Blanket Clarifiers: Sludge blanket clarifiers work by having water flow upward through a sludge blanket that traps the sludge and pushes the clarified water to the top of the tank. 
  • Rectangular or Circular Clarifiers: This is an important decision when it comes to space. This has less to do with the function of the clarifier than it does with the shape and size. Rectangular clarifiers are smaller and take less space, often no more than 10 feet in length and no more than 20 feet deep. Circular clarifiers are larger and handle more liquids. Expect circular clarifiers to range in size from 10 to 300 feet upwards of 16 feet deep.

Work With an Expert in Wastewater Treatment to Get the Best Clarifier

Lakeside Equipment has been helping cities and towns have cleaner water for close to 100 years. We offer three clarifiers that are certain to do everything you need and even better than you might imagine. They’re essential components for cleaning industrial wastewater, potable water treatment, and wastewater treatment.

Full-Surface Skimming:

Full-surface skimming is a peripheral-feed system where floating materials are caught in the clarifier’s outer skirt and main settling area. This is an effective way to remove scum and floating materials, but it may not do as much as sludge that sinks. The ducking skimmer is a good choice for low-budget wastewater facilities.

There are two types of full-surface skimmers to help with clarifying: a  Full-Surface Ducking System or a Motorized Full-Surface Skimmer. 

The Full-Surface Ducking System is affordable and uses scraper arms to remove floating materials to a scum trough. A Motorized Full-Surface Skimmer covers the entire width of the clarifier surface and uses a motor to rotate the arm while pushing floating materials to a rotating scum trough.

Spiraflo Clarifier: 

The Spiraflo is a peripheral feed clarifier used to remove suspended solids in a primary, secondary, or tertiary clarification system. Wastewater enters the outer ring where it travels in a ring formed by an outer wall and skirt. The spiral flow travels towards a settling area where clarified water is forced upward to a weir while solids remain in a sludge blanket. 

Key benefit: Tests prove that peripheral-feed spiral clarifiers perform 2x to 4x better than center-feed clarifiers.

Spiravac Clarifier:

The Spiravac is a peripheral feed clarifier for the best possible solids removal through the use of suction to rapidly return active sludge to the beginning of the process. Wastewater enters a channel formed by an outer wall and skirt. Sludge is directed to the center of the tank where it is removed using suction and sludge removal pipes or a rotating manifold located in the center. While this happens, the clarified water rises and goes into a weir to go to the next steps in wastewater treatment.

Key Benefits: Workers can control the flow of sludge that’s been removed, and the process takes place faster than with other clarifiers.

Which is best for your needs? It depends on your current system’s design and footprint. If you’re short on space, you may need a system that fits a smaller area. Work with Lakeside Equipment to figure out the best clarifier for your wastewater treatment plant.

Our team of salespeople and engineers work with you to ensure your water treatment system does everything you want in the most affordable way possible. After your system is installed our parts and service team are there to help you keep your system working perfectly through the years. Reach out to us to learn more about our clarifiers and how they’ll help you get cleaner water.


The Benefits of Installing a Wastewater Clarifier in Industrial Facilities

Clarification is a key step in cleaning wastewater. Primary clarification helps remove solids like FOG, scum, and sludge. Secondary clarification starts to remove some of the germs, microbes, and small particles. Before your industrial wastewater heads to the sewers, you must add a wastewater clarifier. What are the benefits?

Stay in Compliance With Local, State, and Federal Regulations

Have you looked at your local, state, and federal regulations? You may be legally required to install a wastewater clarifier

The federal government has many restrictions on wastewater treatment in categories like battery manufacturing, the dairy industry, medical offices/hospitals, meat and poultry processing plants, paper/pulp mills, seafood processing plants, and dozens of others. If you’re one of those industries, industrial wastewater treatment is required.

States may have their own regulations. Some regions of Massachusetts set stricter rules than the EPA has for the reuse of biosolids from wastewater treatment. You can’t always follow federal government rules and still be doing everything correctly. You need to check with your local wastewater district to find out what state rules apply to you.

Finally, you might find the city or district you’re in requires it, too. In Carson City, Nevada, industries like commercial laundromats, food producers/restaurants, hotels with dining facilities, mortuaries, and wholesale bakeries have to reduce the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids they send to a wastewater treatment plant. If they don’t meet the local requirements, they can pay huge fines.

Help Protect the Environment

July brought flooding rains to some areas of Vermont, and several wastewater treatment plants were either destroyed or had to reduce operations and release raw sewage directly to the rivers their facilities connect to. 

If you’re clarifying wastewater before it leaves your industrial facility, you help protect the environment. It can be tremendously beneficial to the community and bodies of water in the area if the water reaching the facility is already pretreated. You do a lot to help protect the environment in case of raw sewage releases.

Create Less Hassle Within Your District

People are going to be upset if they find they’re paying higher rates for a system that’s being overwhelmed by industrial wastewater. When you add clarifying equipment and treat the wastewater leaving your facility, you’re less likely to frustrate and even anger people in your wastewater district or the workers at the local treatment plant.

You’re not overwhelming the system and creating a strain on equipment that’s getting older. This is a win-win situation for everyone.

Heighten Worker Safety

Depending on your industrial facility, you could be releasing some hazardous liquids that can impact your wastewater treatment plant’s workers. If you have a meat processing facility, your wastewater likely contains high levels of E. coli, salmonella, or other foodborne illnesses. The workers are at a higher risk. When you clarify your industrial wastewater first, you take the initial step to help keep them safe.

Reduce Your Potential Costs

When you treat wastewater before releasing it to a sewer or body of water, you could be charged steep fines if there are any contaminants in that water. A California company was fined almost $5 million for releasing untreated wastewater into a public wastewater treatment plant without being permitted to do so. They were releasing almost 250,000 gallons taking up almost 40% of the wastewater treatment plant’s capacity.

If you’re not approved to release wastewater to the local facility and aren’t meeting regulations regarding clarification or pre-treatment, you could end up paying millions of dollars, which could bankrupt you.

Improve Your Company or Brand’s Image

Your brand’s image can take a hit if you’re not clarifying your industrial wastewater. Bad press can destroy a business’s reputation. While adding an industrial wastewater system does cost money, it can pay off when it comes to how the public feels about your business.

As an example, breweries often send a lot of wastewater to local wastewater treatment plants every day. Organic materials and grains that are in a brewery’s wastewater are hard to treat. When an abundance of brewery wastewater comes in and needs extra time to treat, it takes up room from others in the municipality. It becomes frustrating to area residents and wastewater treatment plant operators

When a brewery looks for grants and other financing options to add its own clarification equipment, it can do a lot for its reputation. Plus, the grains that are filtered out can become feed for cattle and livestock and the organic matter can be used as fertilizer. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wastewater Clarifier

Before you invest in an industrial wastewater clarifier, make sure you purchase the best wastewater treatment equipment for your needs. Your budget will play a major role in what you eventually purchase, but there are several other things to keep in mind.

The Different Types of Clarifiers

There are different types of clarifiers. With some, the wastewater enters on the side at the top and travels downward with a whirlpool type of flow. Others enter the center. It helps to learn a little more about these popular options to understand what they can do and how they work.


Wastewater comes into the outer perimeter of the clarifier tank at the top and travels along a raceway that’s positioned between the outer wall and skirt. Water spirals down the skirt to the main area where settling occurs. Suspended solids are then caught in a sludge blanket for removal through the central hopper.

A peripheral-feed spiral clarifier like the Spiraflo often performs up to 4x better than a center-feed clarifier.


Like the Spiraflo, the Spiravac has wastewater entering from a pipe at the top of the raceway and spiraling down to the settling area at the bottom. Sludge is then removed through Controlled Removal using separate sludge removal pipes that lead to a sludge well or Direct Removal using a header pipe that uses a rotating manifold to discharge the sludge.

In addition to those two popular wastewater clarifiers, full surface skimming is also recommended. There are full-surface ducking skimmers that cost less and have hinges that allow the skimmer to fit under a scum trough. A motorized full-surface skimmer has a drive that rotates the skimmer arm and a blade that pushes floating scum and FOG to a trough for removal.

Your Facility’s Available Space

How much space is available? If you don’t have a lot of space, you need to find a clarifier that takes up as little space as possible. A Spiraflo ranges in size from 8 feet in diameter to 130 feet, so it’s a good option if you need to stick within a certain amount of space.

The Maintenance Requirements

Finally, look for a clarifier that requires little maintenance. If you choose a system that has a lot of steps to keep it maintained, hire additional staff to ensure you have a team available for routine maintenance. 

Work With a Water Treatment Professional 

An industrial wastewater clarifier is a valuable asset for any facility, and it’s one you shouldn’t rush into purchasing without research and expert knowledge. You need a system that helps you save money, stay in compliance, keep people in your municipality happy, and reduce the strain on your area’s wastewater treatment plant. 

Ensure you get exactly what your plant needs by working with a water treatment expert. The team at Lakeside Equipment is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of water treatment, including clarifiers. Talk to our team to discuss your facility’s goals, the space you have, and your budget. We’ll help you find the best clarifier for industrial wastewater.

How Your Facility Could Benefit From Biological Wastewater Treatment

Biological wastewater treatment is a process where bacteria break down the organic substances in wastewater. Wastewater typically contains food particles, toilet paper, solids, and even pharmaceuticals, pathogens, toxins like cleaning products, and heavy metals.

All of these have to be cleaned from the wastewater before it is clean enough to be released to nearby lakes, rivers, or ponds. It’s an essential part of any wastewater treatment program. Whether you own a wastewater treatment plant or have a plant or industrial facility that produces a lot of wastewater each day, you need a biological treatment system that helps clean wastewater.

How Does Biological Wastewater Treatment Work?

The wastewater that comes into a treatment plant is contaminated with many things. You have urine, feces, water from showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and baths. Water coming in from a sewer may have wastewater from factories, car washes, industrial laundromats, and public toilets. It has to be cleaned properly before it is released back into your community’s lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.

To do this, water flows or is pumped into a septage acceptance plant and goes through screens into clarifying tanks where solids sink to the bottom and are removed using pumps. Floating items like fats, oils, and grease float to the surface and are removed. Trash rakes work with the screens to clear out larger items like plastics, rags, and flushable wipes, which really should never be flushed as they do not break down as you’d expect.

While you may have removed a lot of material and sludge from the wastewater, there are still many contaminants in the wastewater. It will go into an aeration tank where it is pumped full of small oxygen bubbles. This oxygen is important as it’s part of a biological aerobic treatment process.

With this, oxygen feeds the bacteria, which gets them energized to start feeding on the pollutants. That breaks down pollutants and converts them into phosphate, nitrate, and carbon dioxide. The wastewater settles again, and any remaining sludge is removed. This process continues with bacteria helping remove pollutants 

Aerobic treatments are faster than the anaerobic process that skips the use of oxygen. With this process, biogas is produced, which can affect the environment. Because of this, aeration is often preferred as it’s fast, efficient, and effective. 

If you need a cost-effective option for biological treatment using aeration, a Sequencing Batch Reactor has a small footprint and can be expanded if that’s needed in the future. It has a continuous feed system that repeats the aeration, settling, and decanting phases in a reactor basin. It’s a five-phase operation:

  • Mix Fill – The valve opens to allow raw wastewater into the tank as the mixer turns on, but aeration is turned off.
  • React Fill – Aeration turns on and off as phosphorus, nitrogen, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), are processed or treated. 
  • React – The valve allowing raw wastewater into the tank shuts off the flow. Aeration and mixing continue to completely treat the wastewater for the final stages before release.
  • Settle – Aeration and mixing stop to allow any solids to sink to the bottom or rise to the top. 
  • Sludge Removal – Sludge and scum are removed from the system and the clear water is released or decanted. 

What Are Biological Wastewater Treatment’s Benefits?

Biological wastewater treatment is an essential part of a wastewater treatment plant. It’s what keeps pollution out of rivers, lakes, and oceans. It also helps conserve water in some regions as treated water goes into tanks where it’s drawn into the water treatment facility for additional disinfection to make it safe for the community members to drink, cook with, and shower in.

Facilities that use a lot of water can also benefit from biological wastewater treatment processes. If you own a facility like a meat processing plant, the strain you put on a local wastewater treatment district is tremendous. You can improve your company’s reputation by taking extra steps to lower the strain you’re putting on your district’s facilities.

With industrial wastewater facilities that handle biological treatments before releasing your wastewater to the sewers, you help out. You lower the work required to treat the wastewater you’re releasing, which reduces your district’s operating costs.

Wastewater treatment districts that use biological treatment processes find it easier to comply with federal and state regulations. Businesses that pre-treat wastewater help keep districts in compliance. 

People also benefit. With an increased number of industrial wastewater facilities at different factories and plants, it creates jobs for people in your community.

It creates cleaner water that’s going into lakes, rivers, and oceans. If you live in an area where you spend time in the water, you want the assurance that you’re swimming or boating in clean water and not being exposed to contaminants. You don’t want to eat fish that are a potential health risk because they’ve ingested too many pharmaceuticals or toxins.

Studies have found that fish that are exposed to water with high levels of birth control medications are impacted. They don’t lay as many eggs, which can deplete the availability of seafood. Biological wastewater treatment is an important step in protecting waterways.

What Types of Biological Wastewater Treatment Systems Are Popular Today?

As mentioned earlier, aerobic is quicker as you add oxygen into the process. But, anaerobic is best when you want to convert your organic materials into methane, carbon dioxide, and biomass. A third option, Anoxic, requires the use of nitrates, nitrites, selenite, or sulfate to feed the bacteria.

Activated sludge is the most commonly used biological wastewater treatment method and it’s been around for over a century. It’s an aerobic wastewater treatment technology. It’s going to be the first choice in many districts.

Ultimately, the decision is yours, but it’s a conversation you should have with an expert in wastewater treatment. You need to make sure whatever changes you make remain in compliance with federal and state regulations.

If your wastewater treatment facility isn’t using biological wastewater treatment processes, it’s time. Lakeside Equipment can help guide you into the best processes to add to your current system. Our wastewater experts advise you on the cost of biological wastewater treatment to ensure any additions fit your district’s budget. We’ll help you make sure you are following regulatory requirements. 

Lakeside Equipment has been helping clean water around the world for close to a century. Our team has the solutions you need at a budget you can afford. Reach us online or by phone to talk about your facility’s needs and what improvements will help make wastewater treatment processes efficient and effective.