Now that oxygen production facilities can be controlled to match the requirements of the dissolution system, improved oxygen dissolution control can result in significant cost savings for oxygen activated sludge plants. This paper examines the potential cost savings of the vacuum exhaust control (VEC) strategy for the City of Houston, Texas 69th Street Treatment Complex. The VEC strategy involves operating a closed-tank reactor slightly below atmospheric pressure and using an exhaust apparatus to remove gas from the last stage of the reactor. Computer simulations for one carbonaceous reactor at the 69th Street Complex are presented for the VEC and conventional control strategies. At 80% of design loading the VEC strategy was found to provide an oxygen utilization efficiency of 94.9% as compared to 77.0% for the conventional control method. At design capacity the oxygen utilization efficiency for VEC and conventional control was found to be 92.3% and 79.5%, respectively. Based on the expected turn-down capability of Houston's oxygen production faciilities, the simulations indicate that the VEC strategy will more than double the possible cost savings of the conventional control method.

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