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Anaerobic Transformations of Organic Matter in Collection Systems

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Anaerobic transformations of wastewater organic matter in the bulk water phase of collection system networks were investigated in laboratory-scale experiments. The wastewater was collected from three locations, which provided samples with different characteristics, ranging from young to mature. Hydrolysis, fermentation, and sulfate reduction were identified as the most important anaerobic processes. Significant quantities of readily biodegradable substrate were produced by hydrolysis of complex organic substrates. The readily biodegradable substrate was further fermented into volatile fatty acids (VFA). The rate of fermentation was found to be limited by the hydrolysis process. The readily biodegradable substrate generated was almost entirely composed of VFA, primarily acetic and propionic acids. A production of sulfide was observed in all experiments, demonstrating that part of the readily biodegradable substrate was consumed by sulfate respiration. The sulfide production was most pronounced in mature wastewater that had previously undergone extended anaerobic transport.
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Keywords: anaerobic; fermentation; hydrolysis; oxygen uptake rate; volatile fatty acids; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2011

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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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