Water Quality Improvement Through Community Campus Partnerships

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Is Septicity Responsible for foaming in Manhattan, Kansas Wastewater?

The City of Manhattan expressed a need for chemical characterization at key
locations of its sewage collection system to address the intermittent foaming problem in its
wastewater treatment facility.

Alok Bhandari and five graduate students stepped in to create innovative solutions to the problem. Successful resolution of the foaming issue contributed to reductions in the discharge of bacteria, phosphorus and nitrogen into the Kansas River.

This service-learning project provided students the opportunity to evaluate factors that
cause foaming and growth of filamentous organisms in municipal wastewater treatment plants.
Students collected wastewater samples from various locations in Manhattan’s wastewater
collection system and conduct chemical analyses for specified wastewater parameters in the
laboratories at Kansas State University or at the Manhattan Wastewater Treatment Plant.

It is estimated that Bhandari's class saved the City of Manhattan nearly $10,000 in consultant fees.