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Predicting the Degradability of Waste Activated Sludge

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The objective of this study was to identify methods for estimating anaerobic digestibility of waste activated sludge (WAS). The WAS streams were generated in three sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) treating municipal wastewater. The wastewater and WAS properties were initially determined through simulation of SBR operation with BioWin (EnviroSim Associates Ltd., Flamborough, Ontario, Canada). Samples of WAS from the SBRs were subsequently characterized through respirometry and batch anaerobic digestion. Respirometry was an effective tool for characterizing the active fraction of WAS and could be a suitable technique for determining sludge composition for input to anaerobic models. Anaerobic digestion of the WAS revealed decreasing methane production and lower chemical oxygen demand removals as the SRT of the sludge increased. BioWin was capable of accurately describing the digestion of the WAS samples for typical digester SRTs. For extended digestion times (i.e., greater than 30 days), some degradation of the endogenous decay products was assumed to achieve accurate simulations for all sludge SRTs.

Keywords: anaerobic digestion; endogenous decay; inert; model; respirometry; waste activated sludge

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-08-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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