A mathematical model for belt filters was developed to determine optimum load rate and belt speed during drainage of flocculated biological sludge. Numerical simulations were performed for belt filters with and without plows, and the model fit experimental data well. Experiments showed that highly compressible cakes were formed during drainage, which was important. Due to cake compression, the final sludge dry matter content increased with load rates as long as the drainage time was sufficiently long. The dry matter content could be increased by stacking the cake at the end of the process. An optimum load rate was found. At high load rates, the drainage time was too short and the dry matter content decreased with load due to high cake resistance. The resistance could be lowered by mixing cake and suspension during the process.
Keywords: activated sludge, compressibility, drainage, flocculation, wastewater