A Proposed Approach for Modeling Sludge Reduction Technologies

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Sludge reduction technologies have gained popularity as solids handling and disposal become an increasingly costly portion of a wastewater treatment plant. The technologies are implemented within the liquid processes for waste activated sludge minimization, or as pre-treatment to anaerobic digestion to enhance digestion and reduce biosolids. Biological, chemical, and/or physical procedures are used and achieve varying level of success, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood and modeled. The paper presents a general framework – via the WERF project 05-CTS-3, Evaluation of Processes to Reduce Activated Solids Generation and Disposal – for simulating representative sludge reduction technologies, including Cyclic Metabolic Environments (e.g. Siemens' Cannibal (biological)) and Ozonation (chemical), as well as the Thermal Hydrolysis (Cambi, Veolia) and Pressure Release (Siemens' Crown (physical)) digestion pre-treatment technologies. Non-proprietary ASM 2d model was implemented for activated sludge processes and ADM1 model for anaerobic digestion, with modifications to reflect potential solids reduction mechanisms. The models were calibrated to existing installations where adequate process data are available, or compared with reported performances otherwise. The modeling framework generally resulted in predictions consistent with plant records or reported performance for selected sludge reduction technologies, suggesting successful capture of key mechanisms and parameters.
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