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Effects of Sludge Properties on the Thickening and Dewatering of Waste Activated Sludge

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The thickening and dewatering of waste activated sludge, from a pilot-scale submerged membrane bioreactor and two bench-scale, complete-mix activated sludge reactors (high-shear and low-shear aeration) treating the same municipal primary effluent, were investigated. Solids settling and compaction were measured using the diluted sludge volume index (DSVI) analysis and a batch centrifugation analysis, respectively. Elevated levels of filamentous microorganisms resulted in higher DSVI values and lower centrifuged pellet concentration. Elevated levels of nocardioform bacteria resulted in lower solids float concentrations, and higher colloidal material reduced solids recovery in batch flotation experiments. Sludge filterability, measured as time-to-filter, was shown to be a function of extracelluar polymeric substances and colloidal material, where higher levels of either reduced sludge filterability. Additional research is necessary to confirm these results using full- or demonstration-scale thickening and dewatering units.

Keywords: centrifuge; dissolved air flotation thickening; nocardioform bacteria; solids dewatering; solids thickening; submerged membrane bioreactor

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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