Influence of different anoxic time exposures on active biomass, protozoa and filamentous bacteria in activated sludge

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Medium-sized wastewater treatment plants are considered too small to implement anaerobic digestion technologies and too large for extensive treatments. A promising option as a sewage sludge reduction method is the inclusion of anoxic time exposures. In the present study, three different anoxic time exposures of 12, 6 and 4 hours have been studied to reduce sewage sludge production. The best anoxic time exposure was observed under anoxic/oxic cycles of 6 hours, which reduced 29.63% of the biomass production compared with the oxic control conditions. The sludge under different anoxic time exposures, even with a lower active biomass concentration than the oxic control conditions, showed a much higher metabolic activity than the oxic control conditions. Microbiological results suggested that both protozoa density and abundance of filamentous bacteria decrease under anoxic time exposures compared to oxic control conditions. The anoxic time exposures 6/6 showed the highest reduction in both protozoa density, 37.5%, and abundance of filamentous bacteria, 41.1%, in comparison to the oxic control conditions. The groups of crawling ciliates, carnivorous ciliates and filamentous bacteria were highly influenced by the anoxic time exposures. Protozoa density and abundance of filamentous bacteria have been shown as promising bioindicators of biomass production reduction.

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