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Consider this overview picture of a WWTP:

In the back, you see two oval tanks with bridges and walls, separating an inner from an outer area. These are aeration tanks.

Is there a specific reason to build them like this, instead of circular, or is there a specific process that calls for this shape? I'm aware of aeration tanks with an aerated zone and an anoxic zone, built concentrically with circular tanks.

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Those are called oxidation ditches. They are aerated mechanically in the center where the bridge is located. The length of the channel and the overall size of the process are functions of required detention time/space availability/and budget.

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