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Influence of Staging, Mean Cell Residence Time, and Thermophilic Temperature on the Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion Process

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As Class B biosolids land application has become less acceptable to many local jurisdictions, low-cost processes to achieve Class A standards have become more popular. Prominent among these low-cost processes is thermophilic anaerobic digestion. As a result, thermophilic anaerobic digestion is now a popular topic in wastewater treatment literature, but quantifiable methods for selecting a particular thermophilic process have not been offered. To provide for this need, an empirical model was developed from data collected in thermophilic anaerobic digestion studies conducted using East Bay Municipal Utility District's (Oakland, California) primary and waste activated sludge to feed both bench- and full-scale digesters. The model predicts at which thermophilic temperature and mean cell residence time (MCRT) one process will outperform or equal another, with respect to fecal coliform reduction. The different disinfection efficiencies in the different thermophilic processes might be explained by the presence or absence of high volatile acid and/or un-ionized ammonia levels in the processes' digested sludges. Data from these studies also show an apparent relationship between increased thermophilic temperatures and volatile solids destruction, and between increased temperatures and specific volatile acids production, for digesters operating at a 13-day MCRT and higher, but not for digesters operating at a 2-day MCRT.
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Keywords: anaerobic digestion; pathogen; single-stage digestion; thermophilic; two-stage digestion

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 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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