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Floc breakup in activated sludge plants

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This investigation, conducted at 24 full-scale activated sludge wastewater treatment plants, quantified the extent of floc breakup resulting from the manner in which mixed liquors in aeration basins and conveyance systems are handled. Results showed that the concentration of dispersed solids increases with increasing aeration basin mixing intensity in the case of diffused air aeration systems. Also, the beneficial effect of the tapered aeration mode of operation on the extent of flocculation was shown. In mechanically aerated basins, the location of the aerator nearest the basin discharge point was found to be critical with respect to floc integrity since the degree of solids dispersion was shown to vary inversely with distance from a mechanical aerator. The presence of elbows and free falls of less than 0.5 m in mixed liquor transport systems was found to slightly increase solids dispersion. Free falls greater than 1.2 m however, were observed to cause significant floc breakup. Shear rates normally present in conveyance pipelines resulted in net floc aggregation.

Keywords: activated sludge; aeration; bioflocculation; floc breakup; secondary clarification; turbulence

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1993-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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