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Laboratory studies on the temperature-phased anaerobic digestion of domestic primary sludge

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The temperature-phased anaerobic process involves a two-stage reactor system with the first stage operated at a thermophilic temperature (typically 55°C) and the second stage operated at a mesophilic temperature (typically 35°C). The purpose of this laboratory study was to compare the performance of the temperature-phased system with the conventional single-stage mesophilic system for treating domestic wastewater sludge. Of particular interest in the research was a comparison of the two systems from the standpoint of coliform reduction, volatile solids destruction, and biogas production.

The temperature-phased system achieved almost complete destruction of total and fecal coliforms over a range of solids retention times (SRTs) from 10 to 15 days. The concentration of fecal coliforms in the effluent from the temperature-phased system never exceeded 1 000 MPN/g total solids, which can meet the U.S. federal fecal coliform requirements for Class A biosolids. At SRTs ranging from 10 to 15 days, the temperature-phased system achieved an 18% higher destruction of volatile solids and 16% more methane production than was possible with the single-stage mesophilic process.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1997-09-01

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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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