IWA Publishing

Potential of resource recovery in UASB/trickling filter systems treating domestic sewage in developing countries

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This paper aims to present perspectives for energy (thermal and electric) and nutrient (N and S) recovery in domestic sewage treatment systems comprised of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors followed by sponge-bed trickling filters (SBTF) in developing countries. The resource recovery potential was characterized, taking into account 114 countries and a corresponding population of 968.9 million inhabitants living in the tropical world, which were grouped into three desired ranges in terms of cities’ size. For each of these clusters, a technological arrangement flow-sheet was proposed, depending on their technical and economic viability from our best experience. Considering the population living in cities over 100, 000 inhabitants, the potential of energy and nutrient recovery via the sewage treatment scheme would be sufficient to generate electricity for approximately 3.2 million residents, as well as thermal energy for drying purposes that could result in a 24% volume reduction of sludge to be transported and disposed of in landfills. The results show that UASB/SBTF systems can play a very important role in the sanitation and environmental sector towards more sustainable sewage treatment plants.

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