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Effect of Biopolymer on the Dewatering Characteristics of Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion of Sludges

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Autothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion of sludge is known to produce poorly dewatering sludges. Laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the reasons for the poor dewatering. It was found that, during digestion, proteins and polysaccharides were released into solution, and that these could be linked to the deterioration in dewatering. The biopolymer release was accompanied by an increase in the monovalent-to-divalent (M/D) cation ratio. The degree to which the M/D caused deterioration of the sludges depended on the presence of iron in sludge. When the iron content was high, the release of protein and polysaccharides was low. When iron was low, the release of protein and polysaccharides increased linearly with the M/D ratio. The dose of conditioning chemicals, cationic polymer or ferric chloride, was related to the amount of colloidal biopolymer present in solution. The findings suggest that the addition of iron during the digestion process has the potential to produce better dewatering sludges.

Keywords: autothermal digestion; biopolymer release; high iron; low iron; monovalent divalent cation ratio; optimum conditioning

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-03-01

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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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