Koch-Ellis Pioneers Aerobic Digesting Systems In Wash Water Treatment

—Data Available Koch-Ellis Barge and Ship Service has been pioneering a new program of aerobic digesting systems for on-sight treatment of wash water. Koch-Ellis has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to help set industry waste disposal standards.

The process of aerobic digesting systems sounds at first like bacteria working out, while eating everything. This is partially correct.

This new form of generic technology takes its idea from the old use of the septic tank for waste disposal. Bacteria in the septic tank disintegrates raw sewage.

Scientists created bacteria that consumed oil, which petroleum companies use as a final tank cleaning method.

Now Koch-Ellis, working closely with the EPA, is using aerobic digesting systems in its treatment of wash water from the cleaning of barges and ships that carry petroleum products, chemicals and edibles. The slurry of wash water leftover after ship or barge cleaning is first put through a clarifier process that separates and recaptures usually 98 percent of the chemicals or oil from the wash water. The problem was that there was some residue left over, plus the wash water lacked oxygen to support life. In the past, the clarified slurry was just dumped.

Koch-Ellis's environmental consultant suggested aerobic digesting as a method of cleaning and adding oxygen to the water.

Leftover wash water is placed in a special tank with five separate types of bacteria genetically programmed to consume chemical and petroleum waste. Oxygen is added to keep the bacteria alive and replenish oxygen in the water.

The bacteria consume the waste, sink to the bottom of the tank and clean, oxygenated water is siphoned off the top and returned to the environment. The process is proving to be the most effective method for final wash water cleaning. In addition, the idea is simple and contributes to a safer environment.

For further information about Koch-Ellis Barge and Ship Service and their program of aerobic digesting systems,

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