Top 7 Benefits of Grinders for Wastewater Treatment

wastewater spilling out of a pipe near refinery

When we think of wastewater treatment, our first thoughts might be the need to get rid of chemicals and toxic pollutants identified by the EPA.

But long before the water gets to that point, a lot of large debris has to be removed or cut down to size. Grinders go after those difficult large solids to cut them down to size and make them easier to remove from the water stream. The benefits of grinders are many, including saving time, water, and manpower.

Let’s look at a few of the reasons to use grinders in wastewater treatment.

1. Disposal Alternative

The early stage of wastewater treatment typically involves screening out large debris. However, if you only use screens, you have to have a plan for getting it out of the screen and disposing of it.

It’s not always practical or cost-efficient to do this. Disposal at that stage adds an extra step and requires a location for putting debris.

Using grinders to cut the debris into smaller pieces allows those pieces to continue through the treatment process and be dealt with at a later stage. This can be more efficient as there’s just one step for disposal rather than two.

2. Cut Through Anything

You’d be amazed what ends up floating into a treatment plant - rags, flushable wipes, paper, and other stringy materials just for a start. Then there are the ubiquitous plastic bags, sticks, and bottles that wash through as well, along with food particles and wood. Even entire shirts, blankets, and uniforms end up downstream of correctional facilities and other institutions.

A grinder uses several tons of cutting force at its peak levels to slash through difficult liquid-solid combinations to make the debris easier to deal with and ensure things keep flowing.

3. Reduce Pump Clogging

Pump clogs slow everything down. The treatment line might have to stop to take time to clear them, and it often has to be done by hand.

The smaller the pieces in the wastewater stream, the less likely it is they will clog pumps. They can just flow through with the water stream to be collected later in the sludge.

Fewer clogs mean less downtime clearing them and less risk to workers having to do the clearing manually.

4. Improve Sludge Processing

Part of the secondary stage of treatment is dealing with the sludge removed from the wastewater. If you chopped debris to let it travel downstream, this is where it gets removed by letting it settle into the sludge.

However, that sludge still has to be removed from the system, which typically means going through a pump. A grinder can pre-condition sludge to cut solids down even further. This keeps them from clogging or damaging sludge pumps, centrifuges, or dewatering systems.

The sludge is often added to composting woodpiles, which farmers then use to restore nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the soil rather than using chemical fertilizer.

5. Protect Your Downstream Equipment

Whether you use a grinder for open channels or inline applications, a key benefit is to protect all your downstream equipment. Effective cutting into small pieces keeps debris from damaging equipment not meant to handle large solids.

Smaller pieces can flow through filters and pumps unimpeded until you’re ready to remove them from the flow. They are less likely to cause abrasion or clogging. The big goal is to protect your pumps, including rotary lobe and progressive cavity types.

6. Reduce Manual Intervention by Workers

Any factory, plant, or treatment facility wants to keep work as safe as possible for its employees. By using a grinder to cut up debris, you reduce the need for manual jobs and intervention. Not to mention you avoid the need for messy jobs and hands-on waste disposal.

For example, there is usually less need for raking to remove debris caught in screens during the preliminary treatment stage. Your people also shouldn’t need to intervene to clear clogs down the line or move debris away from a filter to allow the flow to continue.

Counter-rotating shafts can keep the cutters clean, so they don’t have to be cleared out by hand either. This is not only safer, but it saves time and causes less disruption to the process as well.

7. Faster BOD Removal

In the later stages of wastewater treatment, steps are taken to degrade and break down any suspended solids and organic matter left in the liquid. How much can remain is dictated by the Clean Water Act at the federal level, along with state and local regulations.

Sometimes this involves using chemicals and sometimes aeration. But one common way is using bacteria to eat up the remaining pollutants. Smaller pieces can be degraded faster as the bacteria has more surface area to work on, which speeds up the treatment process.

Need More on the Benefits of Grinders?

If you have to deal with disposing of wastewater, a grinder can be a great addition to the early stages of the process. Once you understand how grinders work, it’s easier to see the various benefits they offer, from cutting down on manpower costs and risks to reducing downtime due to clogging.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of grinders, contact us for more information on our reliable grinder equipment and other wastewater treatment solutions.