Aerobic microbial transformations of pipe and silt trap sediments from combined sewers

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ABSTRACT
Organic matter in sediments from pipes and silt traps in combined sewers was divided into fractions with different settling velocities. Biodegradability of organic matter for these fractions was characterised based on results from a conceptual model of aerobic transformations of resuspended sediments calibrated on oxygen utilisation rates. Pipe sediments as well as silt trap sediments were investigated and no differences between these deposits were detected. It was found that the largest fraction of organic matter is associated with material which settles relatively fast and only a small part is associated with relatively slow settling material. However, the fast settling organic matter was found to be rather slowly biodegradable compared to the slow settling organic fraction. Because the biodegradability of the organic matter discharged during combined sewer overflow (CSO) events is of significant importance to the impact on the dissolved oxygen concentrations in receiving waters, the biodegradability of sewer sediments is argued to be taken into account for detailed characterisation when dealing with CSO impacts.

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