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•Wastewater treatment objectives are accomplished by

concentrating impurities into solid form and then separating

these solids from the bulk liquid….how can we achieve?
•This concentration of solids, referred to as sludge, contains
many objectionable materials and must be disposed of properly,
Sludge disposal facilities usually represent 40 to 60 percent of
the construction cost of wastewater-treatment plants.
Sources of sludge
Primary sedimentation tank
Aeration basin or secondary clarifier
 Screening, grit chambers and grinder
 Filter backwash water
The treatment processes have two primary objectives:
(1) to reduce the volume of material to be handled by removal
of some of the liquid portion, and
(2) to decompose the highly putrescible organic matter to
relatively stable or inert organic and inorganic compounds from
which water will separate more readily.
This is called digestion which causes a reduction in the total
Other secondary objectives are to utilize the generated gas if
anaerobic digestion is selected as part of the sludge
management strategy. In addition, an attempt should be made
to sell/utilize the sludge as a soil conditioner rather than paying
to dispose of it.
The quantity and nature of sludge depends on the
characteristics of the wastewater and on the nature and
efficiencies of the treatment processes.
Primary settling removes the settleable fraction of the raw
wastewater solids, usually 40 to 60 percent of the influent
The quantity of these solids, on a dry mass basis, can be
determined by the following equation.
Mp = ηx SS x Q
where M p = mass of primary solids, kg/d
η = efficiency of primary clarifier
SS = total suspended solids in effluent, kg/m3 and Q = flow
rate, m 3/d
Solids escaping primary settling are either solubilized or
become entrained in the biomass during secondary treatment.
Additional solids are generated by conversion of dissolved
organics into cellular material.
Secondary sludge is thus composed primarily of biological
solids, the quantity of which can be estimated by the equation
Ms = Y x BOD5 x Q
Where Ms = mass of secondary solids, kg/d
Y = biomass conversion factor: fraction of food (BOD5)
incorporated into biomass, kg/kg
BOD5 = BOD5 removed by secondary treatment, kg/m3
Q = flow rate, m3/d
The organic content of both primary and secondary sludge is
about 70 percent.
Since the specific gravity of these organics is only slightly
greater than 1, the unit mass of the sludge containing less than
about 10% solids can be assumed to be equal to that of water
without introducing significant error.
The volume of wet sludge can therefore be approximated by
the following equation:
V= M/(ρw.S)
Where V= volume of sludge produced, m3/d
M= mass of dry solids, kg/d
S= solids content expressed as a decimal fraction
ρw= density of water, kg/m3
The processes involved in sludge treatment vary from simple gravity
thickening to almost complete destruction of solids by incineration.
Which process is selected to accomplish the design objectives
depends on one or more of the following factors:
Character of the sludge; raw, digested, or industrial.
Land availability.
Suitability of sludge for disposal by dilution.
 Local possibilities for using sludge as a soil conditioner or fertilizer.
 Climate.
 Capital and operating costs.
Size and type of wastewater treatment plant.
Proximity of the plant to residential areas and local air pollution
control regulations.
Sludge contains a high concentration of solids, but its water
content is still high.
Combined primary and secondary sludge from an activated
sludge treatment plant contains about 2 % solids and hence 98
% water( One kg of dry sludge is associated with 49 L of water).
Thickening to 5 % solids means one kg of dry solids is
associated with 19L of water, thus 30 L of water has to be
Several techniques are available for volume reduction.
a) Gravity Thickening
Accomplished in circular sedimentation basins
Degree of thickening: 2~5 times the incoming solids conc.
Max. achevable solid concentration: < 10%
Chemical and WAS are difficult to thicken under gravity..why?
Type of Inf.Sol. Thickene Hl, Sl, Solids Overflow
sludge conc., % d conc., m3/m2·d Kg/m2·d capt., % TSS,
% mg/L

Primary 1-7 5-10 24-30 90-144 85-98 300-

Trickling 1-4 2-6 2-6 35-50 80-92 200-
WAS 0.2-1.5 2-4 2-4 10-35 60-85 200-
Combined 0.5-2 4-6 4-10 25-80 85-92 300-
primary +
WAS 1000
Gravity thickener side wall depth: 3 m (10 ft)
Detention period: 24 hrs
 Hydraulic loading rate: 10~30 m3/m2·d
The released air bubbles become attached to the suspended
particles by one of the following mechanisms:
Primarily used to thicken the solids in chemical and WAS
Separation of solids is achieved by introducing fine air bubbles
created under pressure of several atmosphere into the liquid,
attaching to solids to cause flotation of solids
Degree of thickening: 2~8 times the incoming solids
Max. solids concentration: 4~5%
Advantages of DAF
Space requirements are minimal.
Capability to treat a wide variety of organic and inorganic
solids and dissolved waste streams.
Low retention time from wastewater stream to effluent
Superior clarification of most waste streams.
Easy to clean and maintain.
Higher density sludge with low water content.
Installation cost is low
The unit is typically delivered fully prefabricated. Normal
concrete pad installation
Dissolved Air Flotation Process Diagram
To reduce organic content and offensive odors in sludge
1. Stabilization
< 50% VS for municipal sludge stable
Raw sludge: 0.4~0.5 g BOD5/g VS
Digested sludge: 0.2~0.25 g BOD5/g VS
2. O2 uptake rate < 1.5~2 mg O2/g VS/hr stable
3. Pathogen removal: E. coli, salmonella, etc.
4. Reduce sludge mass
Thermal stabilization
Chemical digestion: lime stabilization
Aerobic digestion: good for small to medium size wastewater
treatment plants; energy intensive; poor settling; nitrification
 Anaerobic digestion: Good for medium to large size
wastewater treatment plants; recovery of energy (CH4)
A)Thermal stabilization: is a heat process by which the bound
water of the sludge solids is released by heating the sludge for
short periods of time.
Exposing the sludge to heat and pressure breaks down the cell
structure, coagulates the solids and reduces the hydration and
hydrophilic (water loving) nature of the solids.
The liquid portion of the sludge can then be separated from the
solid by decanting and pressing.
B)Chemical Stabilization
Chemical stabilization is a process whereby the sludge matrix is
treated with chemicals in different ways to stabilize the sludge
Lime stabilization:
The lime stabilization process can be used to treat raw
primary, waste activated, septage and anaerobically digested
The process involves mixing a large enough quantity of lime
with the sludge to increase the pH of the mixture to 12 or more.
This normally reduces bacterial hazards and odor to a
negligible value and provides satisfactory means of stabilizing
the sludge prior to ultimate disposal.
The purpose of digestion is to attain both of the objectives of
sludge treatment -- a reduction in volume and the
decomposition of highly putrescible organic matter to relatively
stable or inert organic and inorganic compounds
Aerobic Digestion
Anaerobic Digestion
a)Aerobic Digestion
In aerobic digestion the microorganisms extend into the
endogenous respiration phase, which is a phase where
materials previously stored by the cell are oxidized, with a
reduction in the biologically degradable organic matter.
This organic matter, from the sludge cells is oxidized to
carbon dioxide, water and ammonia.
The ammonia is further converted to nitrates as the
digestion process proceeds.
Eventually, the oxygen uptake rate levels off and the
sludge matter is reduced to inorganic matter and relatively
stable volatile solids.
Aerobic digestion tanks are normally not covered or heated,
therefore, they are much cheaper to construct than covered,
insulated, and heated anaerobic digestion tanks. In fact, an
aerobic digestion tank can be considered to be a large open
aeration tank.
The advantages most often claimed for aerobic digestion are:
A humus-like, biologically stable end product is produced.
The stable end product has no odors, therefore, simple land
Aerobically digested sludge usually has good dewatering
In comparison with anaerobic digestion, more of the sludge
basic fertilizer values are recovered
VS reduction similar to anaerobic digestion,
Supernatant liquors from aerobic digestion have a lower BOD
than those from anaerobic digestion.
relatively easy operation, and lower capital cost
high power cost,
Variable solids reduction efficiency with varying temperature
 Sensitive to temp., location, and type of tank material, and
loss of CH4 recovery potential.
Process description
C5H7NO2 + 7O2 5CO2 + NO3- + 3H2O + H+
 Primary sludge: direct oxidation of organic matter
Biological sludge: endogenous oxidation of the cell tissue
Digestion is a microbiological process that converts the
chemically complex organic sludge to methane, carbon dioxide,
and inoffensive humus like material. The reactions occur in a
closed tank or digester.
Sludge digestion is carried out in the absence of free oxygen by
anaerobic organisms. It is, therefore, anaerobic decomposition.
The solid matter in raw sludge is about 70% organic and 30 %
inorganic or mineral.
 Much of the water in wastewater sludge is "bound" water
which will not separate from the sludge solids.
The facultative and anaerobic organisms break down the
complex molecular structure of these solids setting free the
"bound" water and obtaining oxygen and food for their growth.
Anaerobic digestion is a bacterial decomposition process
that stabilizes organic wastes and produces a mixture of
methane and carbon dioxide gas (biogas).
The heat value of methane is the same as natural
petroleum gas, and biogas is valuable as an energy source.
Anaerobic digestion is usually carried out in a specially
built digester, where the content is mixed and the digester
maintained at 35oc by combusting the biogas produced.
After digestion the sludge is passed to a sedimentation tank
where the sludge is again thickened.
 Biogas is collected from the digester . The thickened
sludge requires further treatment prior to reuse or disposal
 High degree of waste stabilization at high organic loading
 Very little sludge production (< 5% of biodegradable organic
matter being converted to cell material) (10% of aerobic sludge
 Easy dewatering of the excess sludge
Low nutrient requirement (10% of aerobic process
 No aeration equipment
 Methane production
Long preservation of adapted sludge without feeding for more
than a year
 Probably less sensitive to toxic compounds
 Low bacterial yield (prolonged periods of biomass
build-up), thus requiring longer start-up period (8 to 12
Temperature sensitive
 Essentially a pretreatment process
 Cell yield low (energy into CH4)
 Kr high
 3~5 days min θc c at 35°C
 Needs 20 day θc in digester at 25°C
The standard-rate digester volume is determined by
loading rates, digestion period, solids reduction, and sludge
storage. These are related by the following equations.
V = (V1+V2) t2 +V2t2
Where V = volume of the digester, m 3
V1 = raw sludge loading rate; m3/d
V2 = digested sludge accumulation rate, m3/d
t1 = digestion period, d
t2 = digested sludge storage period, d
Dewatering aims to reduce the water content further so that
the solids content of the sludge is about 20 % (equivalent to 1 kg
dry sludge with 4 L of water).
The sludge can then be handled like a solid. Dewatering can
be done mechanically using a filter press (employing pressure).
It can also be done using drying beds. A drying bed consists of
a 30 cm bed of sand with under-drainage . Sludge is applied on
the sand bed and is allowed to dry by evaporation and drainage
of excess water over a period of several weeks depending on
climatic conditions.
Bacterial decomposition of the sludge takes place during the
drying process while moisture content is sufficiently high.
Final or ultimate disposal of sludge, which cannot be
reused, is by land filling or incineration.
 sludge for land filling usually contains heavy metals or
toxic chemicals, lining of the landfill with clay or plastic
liner may be required to prevent contamination of
Incineration of sludge is by a multiple hearth furnace or
fluidised bed furnace.
Energy input is required to dry the sludge before
combustion is self-sustaining. Combustion flue gases
usually need treatment to meet air pollution control
standards. Investment and operating costs are high