Review of Primary Sludge Fermentation Performance in South Africa and the USA

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 ABSTRACT

Primary sludge fermentation as a technology to enhance biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) is now well established. The technology modifies the wastewater composition by converting complex, colloidal and particulate COD to soluble, readily biodegradable COD. This favors the growth of Phosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) under suitable environmental conditions. There are many variations to the practical implementation of primary sludge fermentation. A literature survey summarized the experiences at a number of North America, Australian and
South African wastewater treatment plants. Detailed case studies of one American and two South African plants indicated the following:
• Wastewater with an unfavorable composition with respect to BNR performance can be
modified to achieve reliable BNR.
• Sufficient sludge fermentation with adequate retention time and absence of interfering
oxidants such as O2 and NOx-N are essential.
• Process configurations with a positive control of the effective SRT (in the sludge fermenter)
perform better.

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