The effect of iron and aluminium for phosphorus removal on anaerobic digestion and organic sulfur generation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

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

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