The Belmont Valley integrated algae pond system in retrospect
Integrated Algae Pond Systems (IAPS) are a derivation of the Oswald-designed Algal Integrated Wastewater Pond Systems (AIWPS®) and combine the use of anaerobic and aerobic bioprocesses to effect sewage treatment. IAPS technology was introduced to South Africa in 1996 and a pilot plant designed and commissioned at the Belmont Valley WWTW in Grahamstown. The system has been in continual use since implementation, and affords secondarily treated water for reclamation according to its design specifications, which most closely resemble those of the AIWPS Advanced Secondary Process. In this paper IAPS as a municipal sewage treatment technology is re-examined in relation to design and operation, the underpinning biochemistry of nutrient removal by algae is described, and a retrospective is provided on the demonstration system at the Belmont Valley WWTW. In addition to presenting details of the process flow, several shortcomings and/or oversights are highlighted and, in particular, the need for an appropriate tertiary treatment component. However, despite the use of IAPS for sewage treatment in many countries, this technology is still viewed with some scepticism. Thus, a major purpose of this overview is to provide a synthesis of available information on IAPS and an appraisal of its use for municipal sewage treatment.
Keywords: advanced integrated wastewater pond system, integrated algae pond systems, wastewater, algae, nutrient removal, sewage