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Low-Temperature Inactivation of Fecal Coliforms in Sludge Digestion

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The goal of this research was to demonstrate the ability to achieve Class A pathogen standards in nonthermophilic acid digesters. It was proposed that the key mechanism responsible for fecal coliform inactivation was the presence of un-ionized volatile fatty acids. Lab-scale acid digesters were assembled and operated in a batch mode for 5 days at mesophilic (38°C) and low-mesophilic (21°C) temperatures and at different solids concentrations. The key factor recognized for successful pathogen inactivation was pH, which is also the main factor driving the shift in organic acids toward the un-ionized form. Compared to conventional mesophilic acid digestion, low-mesophilic acid digestion was effective in fecal coliform inactivation because the process maintained lower pH throughout the duration of the experiment, offered continuous release of organic acids, and showed higher concentrations of organic acids in un-ionized form, including acetate, propionate, butyrate, and valerate.
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Keywords: Class A; anaerobic digestion; biosolids; fecal coliforms; pathogens; volatile acids; volatile fatty acids

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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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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