Sludge Solutions: What Is a Sludge Blanket Level?
Monday, October 11, 2021

Analysts expect demand for sludge treatment to grow by 5.7% over the next five years. Are you looking for ways to improve your sludge treatment processes?

Automated sludge blanket level monitoring is one way to get more from your treatment system. Learn more about the sludge blanket level. Find out how better monitoring can give you a better sludge solution.

What Is Sludge?

A general sludge definition is that it's a semi-solid slurry. Sludge can include any type of solid sedimentary material mixed with a liquid. It contains a mix of organic matter, inorganic matter, and suspended solids.

Wastewater treatment processes, drinking water treatment, and other industrial processes produce sludge.

Some treatment processes remove the sludge as part of cleaning the wastewater. Processes like up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors use the sludge blanket as part of the cleaning process. UASB systems are especially common for industrial sludge in industries like pulp and paper, food processing, breweries, and distilleries.

What Is a Sludge Blanket Level?

The sludge blanket level is the interface between sludge that has settled on the bottom of the tank and the water above it. In a dissolved air flotation system, the sludge blanket floats instead of settling.

Sensors detect the sludge blanket level and provide a measurement. A sludge blanket level that's too high or too low will cause problems in treatment.

Measuring the Sludge Blanket Level

Measuring the sludge blanket level is critical for keeping your system working properly. Sensors for measuring the sludge blanket level commonly use infrared or ultrasonic technology.

Infrared Sensing Technology

Infrared sensors use infrared or near-infrared light to measure the concentration of suspended solids. Particles over a certain size block the transmission of the light wavelength. The optical sensors can then directly measure suspended solids concentration.

Ultrasonic Sensing Technology

Ultrasonic sludge level sensors use a piezoelectric crystal in a protective housing. Voltage excites the crystal to create a sonar signal. Ultrasonic waves then scan the separation zones in the tank.

The amount of time it takes for the ultrasonic signal to reach solid particles and return to the receiver indicates the sludge level.

Benefits of Good Sludge Blanket Level Monitoring

Good sludge blanket level monitoring helps you maintain the ideal sludge blanket level in your system. You avoid processing problems, reduce wear and tear on machinery, and cut costs.

Sludge that's too thick or too dense will cause mechanical damage. It can let solids overspill. If the sludge is too thin, subsequent treatment is difficult and inefficient.

Alerts when the sludge blanket level is too high or too low help you respond faster. You have less need for manual interventions and less risk of penalties for environmental damage.

Accurate monitoring lets you run pumps only when necessary. You have less wear and tear on the equipment. You also reduce your energy use, which reduces costs.

Finding the Best Sludge Blanket Monitor

The sludge blanket is an important part of your water treatment system. Monitoring the sludge blanket level with an automated monitoring system saves you time and money. You have less risk of accidental discharges.

The EchoSmart sludge blanket monitor is a flexible solution from ATI-Entech Design. It works with a variety of equipment configurations.

One EchoSmart controller controls up to 16 sensors, which lowers your per-tank cost. These field networks can work wirelessly. Contact us today for a 30-day free trial and experience the benefits of the right continuous monitoring system.