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Phosphorus and Heavy Metal Extraction from Wastewater Treatment Plant Sludges Using Microwaves for Generation of Exceptional Quality Biosolids

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The objective of this study was to evaluate how much phosphorus and metals in sludge can be released into solution by microwave irradiation when applied to sludge prior to anaerobic digestion, and to determine the effectiveness of subsequent lime precipitation. For thickened sludge, the fraction of phosphorus in the soluble form increased to 23%∼28% while for unthickened sludge, to 31%∼38%, after raising temperatures by microwave heating to 50∼70°C. Microwave irradiation also caused the release of arsenic, molybdenum, nickel, and selenium into solution to 33%, 15%, 13%, and 28% for thickened sludge and 63%, 61%, 37%, and 27% for unthickened sludge, respectively. Microwave irradiation has been found to destruct pathogens in sludge to meet Class A biosolids requirements. Therefore, the reduction of phosphorus and metals in biosolids using microwave heating is economically attractive when considered as a secondary benefit to the use of microwave heating to generate Class A biosolids.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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