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Disinfection and Dewatering of Wastewater Solids by Interstitial Vapor Generation

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Disinfection of wastewater solids (waste activated solids [WAS]) by interstitial vapor generation was investigated. In addition to the magnitude of disinfection, the amount of water removed and cost relative to traditional residuals disinfection processes was also examined. The process of interstitial vapor generation occurs as a result of the rapid heating of liquid in the interstices of the solid–liquid array. Intense heating causes boiling of the slurry liquid, resulting in an expanding vapor front that simultaneously dewaters the wastewater solids and contributes to the destruction of viable pathogenic microorganisms. Objectives of the study were threefold: (1) to validate disinfection of WAS using the interstitial vapor technique; (2) establish the degree of possible drying of the residuals using the techniques; and (3) establish the key operating variables for the process. Results showed a significant reduction in the most probable number of total coliforms and Escherichia coli ( E. coli ). Specifically, greater than four-log unit reductions were produced for both total coliform and E. coli bacteria. In addition to quantifying the reduction in bacteria, the percent solids were increased from an initial amount of 7.6% (mass basis) to a final solids content greater than 90% using optimal processing conditions. Cost comparisons were also conducted and shown to be quite favorable when compared with traditional disinfection methods such as lime addition. Because of the high level of E. coli reduction achieved, the process of interstitial vapor generation is shown to be capable of converting a class B biosolids into a class A pathogen reduced product. For example, an initial most probable number (MPN) of 1.2 × 106 E. coli bacteria were reduced to 19 at the extreme conditions of the process, well below the requirement of an MPN of 1000 for fecal coliform bacteria. Given its ability to disinfect and dewater wastewater solids, the interstitial vapor generation process was found to be a robust and beneficial technique to produce an environmental and publicly acceptable recyclable biosolids resource.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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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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