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Anaerobic Transformations of Wastewater Organic Matter in Sewer Systems

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Anaerobic transformations of wastewater organic matter in the bulk water phase of sewer networks were investigated in laboratory scale experiments. The wastewater was collected from 3 locations, providing wastewater samples with different characteristics, ranging from fresh to mature. Hydrolysis, fermentation and sulfate reduction were identified as the main processes. Significant quantities of readily biodegradable substrate were produced by hydrolysis and fermentation, although fermentation was found to be generally limited by hydrolysis. The readily biodegradable substrate generated was almost entirely composed of the VFAs acetic acid and propionic acid. A production of sulfide was observed in all experiments, demonstrating that part of the readily biodegradable substrate was consumed by sulfate respiration. The sulfide production was most pronounced in mature wastewater that had previously undergone anaerobic transport. These processes that occur in the bulk water phase can significantly affect the quality of the wastewater which may impact the subsequent wastewater treatment.

Keywords: anaerobic; fermentation; hydrolysis; oxygen uptake rate; volatile fatty acids; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864709793955708

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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