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The Anaerobic Biodegradability of Municipal Sludge and Fat, Oil, and Grease at Mesophilic Conditions

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The anaerobic biodegradability of municipal primary and secondary sludge with increasing levels of partially dewatered fat, oil, and grease (FOG) was assessed using a mixed methanogenic culture at 35 °C. Under batch conditions with an acclimated and enriched microbial population, the sludge loading was 3 kg volatile solids/m3 and the highest FOG loading tested was 1.5 kg volatile solids/m3, resulting in a methane yield of 245 mL methane/g sludge volatile solids added at 35 °C and 1010 mL methane/g FOG volatile solids added at 35 °C. Under semicontinuous feeding conditions, the sludge and sludge plus FOG loading tested were 3 and 3.75 kg volatile solids/m3-d, respectively. Within 23 days of operation, the volatile fatty acid concentrations were reduced below 200 mg chemical oxygen demand/L (187 mg/L as acetic acid). Enhancement of sludge digestion was observed in those reactors where codigestion of sludge and FOG took place, which was attributed to a higher level of microbial activity maintained in these reactors as a result of FOG degradation. The results of this study demonstrate that beneficial use of FOG through codigestion with municipal sludge is feasible.

Keywords: and grease; anaerobic digestion; lipids; methane production; municipal sludge; fatty acids; codigestion; fat; oil

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2008

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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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