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Temperature Modeling in Activated Sludge Systems: A Case Study

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A model of temperature dynamics was developed as part of a general model of activated-sludge reactors. Transport of heat was described by the one-dimensional, advection-dispersion equation, with a source term based on a theoretical heat balance over the reactor. The model was compared to several reference models, including a tanks-in-series model and the dispersion model with heat components neglecting biochemical-energy inputs and other activated-sludge, heat-balance terms. All the models were tested under steady-state and dynamic conditions at a full-scale facility, the Rock Creek wastewater treatment plant in Hillsboro, Oregon, using meteorological data from a station located 16 km from the plant. The dispersion model and tanks-in-series model matched in situ temperature data with absolute-mean errors less than 0.1°C. Neglecting biochemical-heat-energy inputs in the activated-sludge reactor underestimated temperatures by up to 0.5°C. The biochemical-heat-energy inputs accounted for 30 to 40% of the total heat flux throughout the year.

Keywords: activated sludge; heat balance; hydraulics; modeling; temperature dynamics; wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-09-01

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  • 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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