Last updated June 03, 2018

As professionals in the wastewater industry, we frequently address problems with dumping hydrocarbons in wastewater lagoons.

This Purdue University article effectively summarizes common wastewater lagoon issues for both the lay person and the wastewater professional, such as blue-green algae build-up that occurs when circulation is poor, blocking sunlight and causing short-circuits.

Wastewater treatment plant lagoon system

In addition, this 2014 article by Caroline Ballard describes how wastewater coming from the oil and gas industries, high in sodium and hydrocarbons, is an increasing problem.

Here are some areas to be aware of when there is an overload of hydrocarbon in your lagoon wastewater:

1. The bottom layer of facultative lagoons becomes overloaded with sludge.
This WaterWorld article by Chip Bettle and Josh Clark states: "Excessive build-up of sludge can potentially intensify odors and increase effluent concentrations of BOD, TSS, nutrients like ammonia, and pathogens."

The lagoon becomes oxygen-deficient, and the biological breakdown normally carried out by bacteria, worms and other organisms in the lagoon's bottom layer becomes inefficient. As a result, the lagoon falls out of compliance with state, local or federal regulations.

2. Odors in facultative lagoons arise from algae blooms and anaerobic conditions.
This Virginian Pilot news article describes a real-life situation where smells caused by the build-up of nitrates created by the daily dumping of sludge from local sewage plants was treated with generic pancake syrup.

3. The toxicity level increases when the lagoon lacks the proper amount of oxygen, risking the environmental impairment of surrounding sediment.
For example, in this 1993 case study, after a lagoon owner's land became contaminated from wastewater, it was subsequently sold and remediation measures were implemented.

At Flowpoint, we are industry leaders in providing customized solutions for issues in wastewater management.

Please contact us if you have questions or comments about how to address an overload of hydrocarbons in your lagoons, or concerns about wastewater treatment in general.

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