IWA Publishing

Sewage sludge and waterworks sludge stabilization in sludge treatment reed bed systems

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In this study, results about sludge stabilization in sludge treatment reed bed (STRB) systems in two different systems, Hanningfield STRB 1 (England), treating waterworks sludge, and Stenlille STRB 2 (Denmark), treating surplus activated sludge, are presented. The study mainly focused on the effectiveness of the STRBs systems in stabilizing sludge organic matter; in fact, parameters correlated to biochemical and chemico-structural properties of organic sludge matter were determined. Dewatering and sludge stabilization were effective in both STRBs, as highlighted by total and volatile dry solids trend. β-glucosidase, phosphatase, arylsulphatase, leucine amino-peptidase and butyrate esterase activities, enzymes related to C, P, S, N and overall microbial activity, respectively, significantly declined along the profile in both STRBs. The determination of humic carbon highlighted the formation of a stable nucleus of humified organic matter in both STRBs in the deepest layers, thus meaning the successful stabilization of sludge organic matter for both kind of sludges. Similar conclusions can be drawn from pyrolysis gas chromatography analysis (Py-GC), which enables the characterization of soil organic matter quality from a chemical-structural point of view. The pyrolytic indices of mineralization and humification showed that in both STRBs the sludge organic matter is well stabilized.

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