Author(s): Saby S, Djafer M, Chen GH
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Abstract The ultimate disposal of excess sludge generated from activated sludge processes has been one of the most challenging problems for wastewater treatment utilities. Previous work has shown that excess sludge can be minimized successfully by using sludge ozonation to dissolve it into substrates to be oxidized in the aeration tank. However, this approach is a costly option. Therefore, as an alternative solution, we propose to use chlorination to replace ozonation in excess sludge minimization in the light of operational cost. To investigate the feasibility of this low cost approach, this paper mainly focuses on the effect of chlorination on sludge reduction rate, formation of trihalomethanes, sludge settleability, and effluent quality. Two identical activated sludge membrane bioreactors were continuously operated with synthetic wastewater under the same operation conditions for several months. During this period, one pilot unit was used as the reference system without chlorination of excess sludge, while another served as a testing unit, where excess sludge was taken out for conducting chlorination at a dose of 133mg/g MLSS every day and the chlorinated liquor was then returned to the aeration tank. The sludge production rate and the water quality of both the units were analyzed daily. It was observed that the sludge production could readily be reduced by 65\% once the chlorination treatment was involved. However, the chlorination treatment also resulted in poor sludge settleability as well as significant increase of soluble chemical oxygen demand in the effluent, which creates potential difficulties in the operation of a conventional treatment plant with gravity clarifiers. However, it has been demonstrated that by integrating the immersed membrane into the activated sludge process these difficulties can be overcome effectively.
This article was published in Water Res
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation