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The Case for Variable Density: A New Perspective on Activated Sludge Settling

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A new, simple method for directly measuring activated sludge density was developed and applied, and the effects of biomass density on activated sludge settling in full-scale systems were evaluated. The driving force of sedimentation is the physical weight of the biological solids, but the role of biomass density in sedimentation has been largely ignored. Biomass density varied amongst treatment systems and this variability was correlated with settleability. Floc densities were approximately normally distributed within individual samples. Nonsoluble phosphorus content was a major contributor to density, and plants with enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) configurations generally had higher densities and better settleability than non-EBPR plants with similar filament contents. These results suggest that future work may benefit from consideration of density as a factor affecting activated sludge settling.

Keywords: activated sludge; density; polyphosphate; secondary clarifier; sedimentation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-01

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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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