Clearlake, Ca., wastewater plant expands sludge removal contract with Absolute Aeration

Successful pilot project leads to wider deployment of cutting-edge technology.

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CLEARLAKE, CA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 -- The City of Clearlake, Calif., located in Lake County, has completed its second installation of a cutting-edge wastewater treatment system to eliminate built-up organic sludge at its Southeast Regional Wastewater Plant.

This follows dramatic results achieved by the Blue Frog System by Absolute Aeration, LLC, during a pilot study in the plant’s North Lagoon, which became virtually sludge-free roughly 10 months after installation. The second system, which was installed the week of Aug. 22 in the South Lagoon, is expected to achieve similar results.

Both ponds treat roughly 0.5 MGD and had previously used high-horsepower aerators that consumed significant energy and were not effective in eliminating accumulated organic sludge. Prior to the pilot study, the plant was incurring an annual dredging fee of $1,000 per dry ton, which translated to an annual cost of roughly $150,000, not including the cost of inspecting and cleaning the chlorine contact ditch, estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 per year.

During the spring of 2014, the county began extensive research and analysis of available alternatives to eliminate dredging. The goal was to identify affordable treatment and disposal methods that would reduce the plant’s annual dredging expense and have a positive impact on the receiving environment.

The Blue Frog Patented Technology had proven its effectiveness in dozens of municipal wastewater applications nationwide by digesting built-up sludge in situ, eliminating the need to mechanically dredge the waste.

The pilot project went online in the North Lagoon on October 30, 2014, and began delivering results almost immediately, according to John Sparkes, site superintendent for the plant. Just 86 days after installation, the Blue Frogs had eliminated 49 percent of the stored sludge in the pond, reducing the sludge depth from 5 feet to 2.55 feet. By the second quarter, it had dropped by almost 62 percent.

"Our North Lagoon is now essentially sludge-free," said Sparkes, in June 2016. "We have a system that can eat through virtually anything very quickly, and we are fine-tuning the process to support our system’s on-going compliance needs. The pond sludge has reached equilibrium, and we are preparing to install the Blue Frog System in the South Lagoon later this year."

Sparkes also noted that the plant’s power bill had been reduced by 16 to 18 percent for the year, yielding an estimated savings of $34,000 to $36,000 annually. Since the initial installation, the Blue Frog System has also been installed in Lake County’s Kelseyville and Northwest facilities.

Rick Roberts, Co-Inventor of The Blue Frog System, said that selecting for the indigenous facultative organisms that are already present in the pond is a natural way to optimize in situ sludge digestion and eliminate mechanical dredging.

“The Blue Frog patented process gently mixes the available nutrients and microbes, facilitating the new growth of a vast number of newly produced bacteria,” said Roberts. “These microbes are then distributed at the sludge water interface on the bottom of the lagoon to begin the process of organic sludge digestion.”

For more details about Blue Frog Technology, visit or call 888.237.7912.

Absolute Aeration is an environmental technology firm that developed The Patented Blue Frog System Technology. The Blue Frog™ System is an innovative, affordable, sustainable solution designed to meet wastewater treatment lagoon discharge standards at a significantly lower investment cost. The revolutionary technology provides a natural solution that enhances anaerobic sludge digestion, improving the function of existing lagoon systems by simply adopting new approaches and strategies. These strategies extend the life of the lagoon by restoring it back to its original design capacity. By shifting the focus from aerobic to anaerobic lagoon treatment strategies, lagoon owners are effectively released from the restraint of high horsepower aeration and sludge generation. Blue Frog System Technology represents a paradigm shift in wastewater treatment strategies.

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