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Pretreatment of Sludge with Microwaves for Pathogen Destruction and Improved Anaerobic Digestion Performance

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Abstract:

A new way of generating Class A sludge using microwaves was evaluated through a series of laboratory-scale experiments. Microwaves provide rapid and uniform heating throughout the material. Other benefits of microwave treatment include instant and accurate control and selective and concentrated heating on materials, such as sludge, that have a high dielectric loss factor. Sludge was irradiated with 2450-MHz microwaves, and fecal coliforms were counted. Fecal coliforms were not detected at 65°C for primary sludge and anaerobic digester sludge and at 85°C for waste activated sludge when sludge was irradiated with 2450-MHz microwaves. During the bench-scale anaerobic digester operation, the highest average log reduction of fecal coliforms was achieved by the anaerobic digester fed with microwave-pretreated sludge (≥2.66 log removal). The anaerobic digester fed with microwave-irradiated sludge was more efficient in inactivation of fecal coliforms than the other two digesters fed with raw sludge and externally heated sludge, respectively. It took more than three hydraulic retention times for a bench-scale mesophilic anaerobic digester to meet Class A sludge requirements after feeding microwave-irradiated sludge. Class A sludge can be produced consistently with a continuously fed mesophilic anaerobic digester if sludge is pretreated with microwaves to reach 65°C.

Keywords: Class A wastewater sludge; anaerobic digestion; microwave irradiation; pathogen reduction

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143005X84549

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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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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