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Characterization of Sulfur in Raw and Anaerobically Digested Municipal Wastewater Treatment Sludges

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A microwave-enhanced acid digestion method that was integrated with inductively coupled plasma‐atomic emission spectrometry was developed and validated for determining total, soluble, and precipitated sulfur in wastewater treatment sludges. The coefficient of variation of this method was less than 4.0%. The recovery of dosed sulfur from sludge samples was between 97.1% and 100.5%. The composition of sulfur in primary and waste-activated sludge (WAS) before and after anaerobic digestion at 35 and 55 °C was characterized by employing this developed method. There was not an apparent relationship between the precipitated sulfur and nonsoluble iron concentrations in sludges. Raw WAS had a more consistent organic sulfur fractionation because of its relatively homogeneous composition. The organic-sulfur-containing components (proteins) of WAS had reduced degradability as compared with that in primary sludge during anaerobic digestion. Digestion at 55 °C increased solubilization but not ultimate conversion of organic sulfur in sludge.
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Keywords: anaerobic digestion; mesophilic; municipal sludge; sulfur; thermophilic; wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations:  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Publication date: 01 February 2013

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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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