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A

MLSS mg/L
SV 30min (mL sludge/1000mL)
SV 60min (mL sludge/1000mL)

A - SVI 30
SVI 60
OPTIMUM 110-160

9500
995
990

105
104

B
MLSS mg/L
SV 30min (mL sludge/1000mL)
SV 60min (mL sludge/1000mL)

B - SVI 30
SVI 60
OPTIMUM 110-160

8000
995
980

124
123

Sludge Volume Index (SVI) is an extremely useful parameter tomeasure in a wastewater treatment pr

SVI can indicate changes occurring in the activated sludge treatment process. By trending SVI data o
Testing for SVI

The standard SVI test requires a 1-liter graduated cylinder for the MLSS settling test. A separate aliqu
SVI (mL/g) = 30-minute settleability test result (mL/L) x 1,000 MLSS (g/L)

It is important to allow the sludge to settle in a quiet area where it wont get bumped or disturbed. Th

There are various containers on the market for performing the settleability test (Figure 1). In the desc
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Refrain from using tall graduated cylinders for the settling test, as the friction created by the close wa

Operators of sequencing batch reactor (SBR) facilities may take the final settleability reading in corre
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Using results
Here are some general guidelines for SVI:
SVI = 80 mL/g or less. This usually indicates a sludge that is dense and has rapid settling

SVI = 100 to 200 mL/g. Most activated sludge plants seem to produce a clear, good-qualit

In the settleability test, the sludge first forms a blanket and seems to flocculate together before start

SVI = 250 mL/g or higher. At this elevated SVI, the sludge settles very slowly and compac

If the treatment plant is new and undergoing startup, the sludge age is considered young and the flo

A high SVI may also indicate filamentous sludge bulking. In this case, a microscopic exam is recomme

When choosing a method of filamentous control (chlorination or other oxidizer), SVI should be calcula
Test examples
The following examples show various MLSS and settleability test results and how they can affect the

Example 1. The settleability test is 875 in 30 minutes and the MLSS is 3,000 mg/L. The SVI calculates

Example 2. The settleability test is 700 after 30 minutes and the MLSS is 1,200 mg/L. The SVI is over

Example 3. The settleability test result is 255 in 30 minutes and the MLSS test result is 4,200 mg/L. T

Example 4. The settleability test result is 400 and the MLSS is 3,000 mg/L. The SVI is 133. This might

Calculating the SVI for each MLSS sample and settleability test gives the operator of an activated slu
About the author

Ron Trygar, Certified Environmental Trainer, is a senior training specialist, water and wastewater prog
References

Jenkins, D., Richards, M., Daigger, G. (2004). Manual on the Causes and Control of Activated Sludge B

Clifton, J. (1988). Wastewater Treatment Plant Operation, 2nd Edition. Univ. of Florida DCE: Kendall Hu

e in a wastewater treatment process. In simple terms, SVI is the result of a mathematical calculation. It takes int

process. By trending SVI data over a period of time, operators are able to prevent problems. Many textbooks give

S settling test. A separate aliquot of mixed liquor is used for a total suspended solids (TSS) test. A fresh sample

MLSS (g/L)

nt get bumped or disturbed. The sample should also be kept out of direct sunlight.

ility test (Figure 1). In the description of the test noted above, a 1-liter (1,000 mL/L) graduated cylinder is used.

friction created by the close walls can slow the settling, change settling velocities and give false readings. Wide

al settleability reading in correlation to the settle time of the SBR. For example, an SBR has a settle time of 50 m

ense and has rapid settling characteristics. This is most often attributed to an old, over-oxidized slu

roduce a clear, good-quality effluent with an SVI in this range. The sludge typically settles more slo

flocculate together before starting to settle. This usually happens in the first five minutes of the test. As the part

es very slowly and compacts poorly in the settleability test. The MLSS looks light and fluffy, not ve

s considered young and the floc particles are just forming. The MLSS result is usually low (less than 1,000 mg/L),

a microscopic exam is recommended and might show light floc particles that contain long filaments extending o

oxidizer), SVI should be calculated and used in trend charts to show the effectiveness of control.

s and how they can affect the SVI result.

3,000 mg/L. The SVI calculates to 292. If the supernatant is very clear, then filamentous sludge bulking may be

is 1,200 mg/L. The SVI is over 580. The supernatant in the settleability test and in the clarifier looks very cloudy

LSS test result is 4,200 mg/L. This SVI is 61 and indicates a rapid-settling sludge condition. The clarifier may be

g/L. The SVI is 133. This might be a good SVI for a plant providing a good-settling sludge that first forms a blank

he operator of an activated sludge plant a valuable tool that can help prevent problems before they begin. By kn

st, water and wastewater programs, at the University of Florida TREEO Center in Gainesville, Fla. He can be rea

d Control of Activated Sludge Bulking, Foaming and Other Solids Separation Problems, 3rd Edition. CRC Press.

Univ. of Florida DCE: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

matical calculation. It takes into account the 30-minute settleability test result and the activated sludg

problems. Many textbooks give guideline SVI numbers, but since every plant operates differently, the be

ids (TSS) test. A fresh sample of mixed liquor should be used for the tests and is normally collect

/L) graduated cylinder is used. Other settling containers may be used in daily plant operation. The

and give false readings. Wide-mouth containers that hold at least 1 liter are acceptable, but 2

n SBR has a settle time of 50 minutes; the operator takes the final settleability reading at 50 min

to an old, over-oxidized sludge typically seen in an extended aeration facility. The floc particles wo

ge typically settles more slowly and traps more particulate matter as it forms a uniform blanket bef

minutes of the test. As the particles come together, they form larger particles that have a spec

ooks light and fluffy, not very dense. There are several reasons the SVI may be high.

ally low (less than 1,000 mg/L), and the supernatant above the sludge blanket will be cloudy, sometimes

ain long filaments extending out of the particle and touching filaments from other particles. Or, the fil

ness of control.

entous sludge bulking may be the cause of the high SVI. In the actual clarifier, the sludge blanket m

n the clarifier looks very cloudy, with a green/gray appearance. Look for a young sludge condition, t

ondition. The clarifier may be somewhat cloudy, and pinpoint floc particles might be seen in the se
sludge that first forms a blanket, and then traps fine particles as it slowly settles and compacts.

blems before they begin. By knowing the SVI for a given condition at the treatment plant and plotting

Gainesville, Fla. He can be reached at 352/392-9570 or rtrygar@treeo.ufl.edu.

ems, 3rd Edition. CRC Press.

nd the activated sludg

rates differently, the be

normally collect

nt operation. The

eptable, but 2

ading at 50 min

acility. The floc particles would be dense a

orms a uniform blanket before settling. Microsc


have a spec

may be high.

l be cloudy, sometimes

r particles. Or, the fil

e sludge blanket m

sludge condition, t
be seen in the se
and compacts.

nt plant and plotting