Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) on Ships

The Ship Aero Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is a pivotal component in managing waste on board, ensuring that ships can treat sewage effectively while adhering to stringent international standards. This system incorporates a myriad of essential components and stages, all working in tandem to process waste efficiently and responsibly.

Components : At the heart of a Ship Aero STP are the settling and aeration tanks. The settling tank is the initial point of entry for sewage, facilitating the separation of solid waste from liquid. The solids settle at the bottom, while the clarified water moves on to the aeration tank. In this second tank, aerobic bacteria play a crucial role, digesting and breaking down organic matter in the sewage. This biological process is vital for reducing the load of pollutants. Moreover, some systems might have additional components such as a disinfection chamber, where the treated water undergoes further cleansing, and a sludge storage chamber for holding the by-products until they can be safely disposed of.


Treatment Phases:  The Aero STP engages in a three-pronged treatment approach – biological, chemical, and physical. The initial mechanical phase ensues, involving processes such as screening, grinding, and filtering, which are pivotal for removing larger solids and particulates from the wastewater. This mechanical treatment facilitates the efficient operation of the subsequent phases by ensuring that larger, potentially disruptive solids are excluded early in the treatment process. The biological phase takes precedence in the aeration tank, where the aerobic bacteria consume organic substances, transforming them into harmless by-products. Following this, in the chemical phase, disinfectants might be introduced to further purify the sewage, eliminating any remaining pathogens or contaminants. Lastly, the physical process is represented by the settling tank, where solids and liquids are distinctly separated, enabling the treatment of each component accordingly.

Capacity:  The handling capacity of a STP is highly contingent on the needs of the ship. Smaller vessels may necessitate a system that manages a few cubic meters per day, while larger ships require a system with the capability to handle substantially larger volumes of sewage, ensuring that the waste management needs of the entire ship are met.

Regulations:  The design, operation, and maintenance of STPs on ships are governed by international regulations, primarily MARPOL Annex IV. This annex delineates the standards for discharging sewage into the sea, safeguarding marine ecosystems from pollution. Additionally, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) may provide further guidelines and standards, ensuring that ships operate in an environmentally responsible manner, regardless of their geographic location.

Maintenance:  Maintaining the STP in optimal condition is paramount. Regular maintenance checks, often conducted monthly, include the inspection of tanks, monitoring bacteria levels, and assessing discharge quality. However, some components might necessitate more frequent attention, ensuring that the entire system functions effectively and adheres to the requisite standards. Regular maintenance not only ensures compliance with regulations but also prolongs the life of the STP and prevents any unforeseen operational issues.


Process flow of a Wärtsilä sewage treatment plant

Main features

  • IMO 227(64) & MED certified
  • Single power supply input point
  • Solids handling centrifugal discharge pump
  • Chemical disinfection and de-chlorination
  • Automatic control
  • Compact design

In conclusion, the Ship Aero Sewage Treatment Plant, by integrating various components and treatment phases, plays an invaluable role in managing sewage on ships. By adhering to international regulations such as MARPOL Annex IV and conducting regular maintenance, ships can ensure that they mitigate environmental impact, thus contributing to the preservation of marine ecosystems.

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