Ozone treatment of excess biological sludge and xenobiotics removal

Muz, Melis
A novel ozone-assisted aerobic sludge digestion process to stabilize and decrease the amount of excess sludge produced during biological treatment is presented in this study. Excess sludge production is a well known burden for the treatment plants both legally and financially. Moreover, with the arise in the knowledge in recalcitrant compounds it is understood that it can act as a significant secondary pollutant. With the developed pulse ozonation method, waste activated sludge samples from Ankara Tatlar and other Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) were ozonated for different periods in Erlenmeyer flasks once a day on each of four consecutive days. Flasks were continuously aerated between ozone applications on an orbital shaker. The MLVSS, MLSS, COD and OUR parameters were measured routinely during the course of four days of digestion in order to optimize the process. Also pH, CST(capillary suction time) and SVI (sludge volume index) were followed. As a result MLVSS reductions of up to 95% were achieved with an ozone dose of only 0.0056 kg O3/kg-initial MLSS, at the end of the fourth day. In another experimental set, ozone dose was increased on the last day in order to destroy the selected endocrine disrupting compounds, namely diltiazem, carbamazepine, butyl benzyl phthalate and acetaminophen and two natural hormones estrone and progesterone, which accumulated onto the sludge. Over 99% removal of these contaminants were achieved on the fourth day. The analyses were conducted by using LC(ESI) MS/MS after solid phase extraction (SPE). By this process it became possible to save on contact time, as well as achieving a bio-solids digestion far exceeding the standard aerobic process at the expense of a minimum of ozone dose with the additional micropollutants removal. The developed process is deemed superior over side-stream ozonation of activated sludge in that it does not cause any reduction in active biomass amount that should be maintained in the aeration tank.