This is a picture of two wastewater samples, in a process that I have become experienced with over the past two weeks. The engineering aid has led me through this process, and he takes me to the plant two or more times per week to obtain these samples.
The goal of this procedure is to compare the East and West sides of the wastewater treatment plant and to see how the sludge particles come together to settle. To perform this experiment, we first go to the East and West sides of the plant and get the water samples from aerated tanks. The tanks are aerated so that the water does not become stagnant and result in more bacteria forming.
After we obtain the samples, we head back to the lab and start two different tests. The first test involves two large containers (shown above), in which wastewater is poured for the respective tank. Every 30 seconds for a total of 5 minutes, I measure the location that the solids settle, designated by the lines on the containers. After the 5 minutes, I let the samples sit for an additional 30 minutes and take the last measurement of settlement. I have found that the East and West sides settle at different rates, and sometimes there are more waste particles in one container than the other.
The wastewater plant then records these results, along with many other data, into their computer system. I will talk about the second test in this process tomorrow, where I will post a picture of that apparatus.