Laboratory Evaluation of Thermophilic-Anaerobic Digestion to Produce Class A Biosolids. 2. Inactivation of Pathogens and Indicator Organisms in a Continuous-Flow Reactor Followed by Batch Treatment
Abstract:Thermophilic-anaerobic digestion in a single-stage, mixed, continuous-flow reactor is not approved in the United States as a process capable of producing Class A biosolids for land application. This study was designed to evaluate the inactivation of pathogens and indicator organisms in such a reactor followed by batch treatment in a smaller reactor. The combined process was evaluated at 53°C with sludges from three different sources and at 51 and 55°C with sludge from one of the sources. Feed sludge to the continuous-flow reactor was spiked with the pathogen surrogates Ascaris suum and vaccine-strain poliovirus. Feed and effluent were analyzed for these organisms and for indigenous Salmonella spp., fecal coliforms, Clostridium perfringens spores, and somatic and male-specific coliphages. No viable Ascaris eggs were observed in the effluent from the continuous reactor at 53 or 55°C, with greater than 2-log removals across the digester in all cases. Approximately 2-log removal was observed at 51°C, but all samples of effluent biosolids contained at least one viable Ascaris egg at 51°C. No viable poliovirus was found in the digester effluent at any of the operating conditions, and viable Salmonella spp. were measured in the digester effluent in only one sample throughout the study. The ability of the continuous reactor to remove fecal coliforms to below the Class A monitoring limit depended on the concentration in the feed sludge. There was no significant removal of Clostridium perfringens across the continuous reactor under any condition, and there also was limited removal of somatic coliphages. The removal of male-specific coliphages across the continuous reactor appeared to be related to temperature. Overall, at least one of the Class A pathogen criteria or the fecal coliform limit was exceeded in at least one sample in the continuous-reactor effluent at each temperature. Over the range of temperatures evaluated, the maximum time required to meet the Class A criteria by batch treatment of the continuous-reactor effluent was 1 hour for Ascaris suum and Salmonella spp. and 2 hours for fecal coliforms.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 2005
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