UV disinfection of wastewater flocs: the effect of secondary treatment conditions

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Activated sludge flocs that are carried to the final effluent can significantly decrease the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection of wastewater. This effect is detected in a typical UV dose–response curve, where at higher UV doses there is a decrease in the inactivation rate (tailing). In this study, the effect of activated sludge process conditions on the UV inactivation kinetics of flocs was investigated. The conditions compared were nitrifying vs. non-nitrifying vs. an enhanced biological nutrient removal–University of Cape Town (BNR-UCT) system. The results showed that the flocs generated in the BNR-UCT process were easier to disinfect. The final effluent from the BNR-UCT process also showed improved kinetics of inactivation and reached higher levels of disinfection. The nitrifying system's final effluent had a lower number of initial fecal coliforms, which contributed to reaching higher disinfection levels compared to the non-nitrifying system.

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