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A Little Dab Will Do: Acid Sludge Addition to Promote Phosphorus Release Prior to Anaerobic Digestion

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The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is planning an upgrade to its solids handling processes, which will include acid-phase digestion and phosphorus (struvite) harvesting. Research has been conducted for the past ten years by MMSD and the University of Wisconsin-Madison on methods to promote phosphorus release from waste activated sludge (WAS) to permit removal or recovery of the phosphorus prior to anaerobic digestion. Recent research has demonstrated that the planned acid-phase digester sludge added to WAS in small quantities promotes phosphorus release quickly, consistently, and with little added volume to solids handling processes. Using this method, phosphorus release rates from the WAS average 40% to 45% within approximately 6 hours. Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) contained in the acid sludge were confirmed to be the critical component in promoting the release. The most effective VFA:Total Phosphorus Released ratios were found to be in the range of 2.5:1 to 4:1, which is lower than typical values found in literature.
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Keywords: Phosphorus release; VFA; acid phase digestion; acid sludge; anaerobic digestion; phosphorus harvesting; phosphorus recovery; struvite; volatile fatty acids; waste activated sludge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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