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Decrease of Time for Pathogen Inactivation in Alkaline Disinfection Systems Using Pressure

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From field studies conducted by Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana), efficiency of advanced alkaline disinfection in closed systems was found to depend on ammonia concentration, pH, exposure time, temperature, total solids content, pretreatment storage time, and mixing effectiveness. In this study of a closed alkaline system, an additional pathogen stressor pressure was tested. The effect of the alkaline dosing has been assessed for dewatered raw and aerobically and anaerobically digested municipal sludge cake that produce un-ionized ammonia at concentrations of 0.05 to 2% on a dry-weight basis. Inactivation of Ascaris suum eggs increased from 50 to 99% as the temperature was increased from 40 to 55°C, thus achieving Class A levels. The systems studied were compared with an alkaline process operated under open conditions, which limited the concentrations of ammonia available because of Henry's Law. Under a closed pressurized system, the effect of un-ionized ammonia was greatly increased, and the resulting time required for inactivation was reduced from hours or days to minutes. In the next few years, it is expected that alkaline disinfection of biosolids will be optimized in relation to the factors stated above, at much lower doses of the alkaline agents. The closed-system alkaline processes that will be developed will be more energy-efficient, cost-effective, and have full control of potential odorous emissions.

Keywords: alkaline disinfection; lime; pathogens; pressure

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 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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