The addition of iron or aluminium into activated sludge basins for phosphorus removal is likely to impact both the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion process and the generation of odor-causing compounds following digestion and dewatering. In this study, the impact of iron and aluminium addition on digestion and odor-causing compounds was investigated by using batch digestion of combined primary and waste activated sludge. It was found that aluminium addition resulted in a decrease in volatile solids destruction by anaerobic digestion of approximately 2%. Of the 7 sludges tested, 5 showed a small increase in volatile solids destruction after iron addition. With regard to the generation of organic sulfur odors from the dewatered sludge cakes, both iron and aluminium reduced odor-causing gases except for one sludge that had already received iron for phosphorus control in the full-scale process. It appears that iron and aluminium addition will benefit odor control.
Keywords: anaerobic digestion, odors, phosphorus removal, sludge