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Biological Solids Reduction Using the Cannibal Process

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A laboratory study of the Cannibal process was undertaken to determine if the Cannibal system would generate less sludge compared with a conventional activated sludge system. Side-by-side sequencing batch reactors were operated—one using the Cannibal configuration and the other as conventional activated sludge. It was found that the Cannibal process generated 60% less solids than the conventional activated sludge system, without any negative effect on the effluent quality or the settling characteristics of the activated sludge. The oxygen uptake rate for the centrate from the Cannibal bioreactor showed that readily biodegradable organic matter was released from the recycled biomass in the Cannibal bioreactor. It is proposed that the mechanism for reduced solids from the Cannibal system is that, in the Cannibal bioreactor, iron is reduced, releasing iron-bound organic material into solution. When the Cannibal biomass is recirculated back to the aeration basin, the released organic material is rapidly degraded.

Keywords: activated sludge; biosolids; digestion; sludge; solids reduction

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 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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