IWA Publishing

Sludge reduction in a small wastewater treatment plant by electro-kinetic disintegration


Sludge reduction in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) has recently become a key issue for the managing companies, due to the increasing constraints on the disposal alternatives. Therefore, all the solutions proposed with the aim of minimizing sludge production are receiving increasing attention and are tested either at laboratory or full-scale to evaluate their real effectiveness. In the present paper, electro-kinetic disintegration has been applied at full-scale in the recycle loop of the sludge drawn from the secondary settlement tank of a small WWTP for domestic sewage. After the disintegration stage, the treated sludge was returned to the biological reactor. Three different percentages (50, 75 and 100%) of the return sludge flow rate were subjected to disintegration and the effects on the sludge production and the WWTP operation efficiency evaluated. The long-term observations showed that the electro-kinetic disintegration was able to drastically reduce the amount of biological sludge produced by the plant, without affecting its treatment efficiency. The highest reduction was achieved when 100% return sludge flow rate was subjected to the disintegration process. The reduced sludge production gave rise to a considerable net cost saving for the company which manages the plant.

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