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Use of Acid Preconditioning for Enhanced Dewatering of Wastewater Treatment Sludges from the Pulp and Paper Industry

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In municipal and industrial practices, wastewater treatment sludges are generally conditioned with organic polymers before dewatering. The dewatering polymers are expensive and contribute significantly to the overall sludge management cost. This paper discusses a preconditioning strategy that holds great promise for enhancing dewatering properties of wastewater treatment sludges, while reducing the cost. In this approach, the waste activated sludge (WAS) is briefly preconditioned with an acid before flocculating with an organic polymer. Experimental results showed that acid preconditioning significantly enhanced dewatering. Separately acidifying WAS and subsequently combining it with primary sludge produced higher presscake solids than acidifying the combined sludge to the same final pH. Acidification exhibited the added benefit of reducing Escherichia coli counts in sludge, thus improving its biological character. This may provide flexibility in choosing a beneficial use application.

Keywords: acid; acidification; biological treatment; biosolids; conditioning; cost; dewatering; pressing; sludge; water removal

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2007

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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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