Exam Study Guide: Sequencing Batch Reactors; and Testing Membrane Filtration Units

Maintaining your education is important, especially in a career that demands licensing exams. Prove you’re an expert operator by answering these questions and others from our Exam Study Guide Series.

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Welcome back to TPO magazine's Exam Study Guide Series, which offers a pair of water/wastewater study questions with in-depth explanations of the answers. Last time, we covered a set of wastewater and drinking water treatment questions on the topics of Anaerobic Digester pH; and Removing Multivalent Ions. This time, you can test your knowledge about sequencing batch reactors, and testing membrane filtration units.

Wastewater Treatment Sample Question

Sequencing Batch Reactors are a five step process in a single tank using a fill and draw system. In what step of this system is the solids wasted from the tank?

A. Fill
B. React
C. Settle
D. Idle

Answer: The answer to the question is D. Sequencing batch reactors, or SBRs, are a fill-and-draw type of activated sludge treatment using a single tank for the treatment process. The SBR is operated normally in five steps: fill, react, settle, draw and idle. The waste-activated sludge (WAS) is removed during the idle step before the process is restarted. Basic operation of different activated sludge processes are fundamentals operators should have basic knowledge for certification advancement.

Water Treatment Sample Question

What is the name of the test that is performed on membrane filtration units to verify they are performing according to manufacture design?

A. Total alkalinity
B. Membrane integrity
C. Total chlorine
D. Total dissolved solids

Answer: The correct answer is B. A drinking water treatment facility that uses membrane filtration as a method for removal of unwanted contaminants from the source water will frequently perform membrane integrity tests (MIT) on the membranes. 

The MIT is performed by applying vacuum, pressure or airflow to one side of a membrane and monitoring the effect on the opposite side of the membrane. It is important that the chosen method is sensitive enough to detect a micron size defect, so the operator can be confident that the rejection of unwanted contaminants is achieved. 

About the authors: Rick Lallish is the Water Pollution Control program director at the Environmental Resources Training Center (ERTC) of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He provides training for entry-level operators in the wastewater field and operators throughout the state looking to further their education. Lallish was also named the 2017 Illinois Operator of the Year and 2018 president of the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operators.

Drew Hoelscher is the program director of drinking water operations at the Environmental Resources Training Center in Edwardsville, Illinois.


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