Skip to main content

The Effect of Wastewater Cations on Activated Sludge Characteristics: Effects of Aluminum and Iron in Floc

Buy Article:

$30.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Wastewater samples collected from seven wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) were characterized to assess the impacts of wastewater cations on the activated sludge process. The cations included in this study were sodium (Na+), potassium, ammonium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum (Al), and iron (Fe). Among the selected cations, Al and Fe were of most interest to this study because their role in bioflocculation has not been extensively studied and remains largely unknown. The data showed that WWTPs contained highly varying concentrations of Na+, Al, and Fe in the wastewater and that these cations were responsible for differences between WWTPs as to sludge dewatering rates and effluent quality. In general, a high influent Na+ concentration caused poor sludge dewatering and effluent characteristics. However, when sufficient Al and Fe were present in floc, the deleterious effects of Na+ were offset. The data associated with Al further revealed that waste activated sludge with low Al contained high concentrations of soluble and colloidal biopolymer (protein + polysaccharide), resulting in a high effluent chemical oxygen demand, high conditioning chemical requirements, and poor sludge dewatering properties. These results suggest that Al will improve activated sludge effluent quality by scavenging organic compounds from solution and binding them to floc.

Keywords: activated sludge; aluminum; biopolymer; cations; conditioning; dewatering; effluent; floc; iron; protein

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • WEF Bookstore
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more