Treatment of xenobiotics during anaerobic digestion and its enhancement upon post-ozonation of the anaerobically treated sludge

Ak, Münire Selcen
Treatment of waste sludge has become an important issue in recent years around the world. However, the trend of waste sludge treatment has shifted from volume minimization and stabilization to reuse of the sludge and recover the energy potential of it. Therefore, anaerobic treatment of sludge is gaining popularity because of byproduct methane production and high percentage of VSS reduction. Pre-treatment of sludge before anaerobic digestion in order to increase methane production, and ozone pre-treatment in this context, is one such option. Domestic sludge also contains the recently recognized, so called, emerging compounds such as Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs). Therefore treatment of EDCs in sludge is another challenge in waste sludge treatment since direct discharge of such chemicals may harm the environment by causing gender shifts within the fauna. In this context two hormones (estrone and progesterone), three pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, carbamazepine and diltiazem) and one plasticizer (benzyl-butyl phthalate) were routinely analyzed in sludge samples which were subjected to treatment during this study. Treatment of EDCs during anaerobic digestion and the effect of ozonation both on the performance of digestion and the treatability of EDCs were investigated in this study. Four 2.5L anaerobic jars were used for anaerobic digestion connected to four 1L plastic graduated cylinders immersed in salt-water to collect the off gas. Anaerobic sludge culture of the reactor and the sludge feed to the reactors were obtained from Ankara Tatlar Wastewater Treatment Plant anaerobic digester and return activated sludge (RAS) line, respectively. One of the anaerobic digesters was used as control (no ozonation) and the others were fed with sludge samples ozonated at three different ozone doses 0.65, 1.33 and 2.65 mg ozone/g biomass. Sludge ages of the reactors were initially set to 25 days and the reactors were fed once every 2 days. The TSS, VSS, total gas volume, COD, pH, CH4 percentage and EDCs were analyzed routinely. In the reactors, operated at 25 days, because of the observation of reduction of TSS, SRT was set to infinity; thus, sludge wastage was terminated. Following the startup it was seen that at 2.65 mg ozone/g biomass dose TSS and VSS did not stay constant in the reactor and dropped sharply in the course of operation, indicating that system was not steady at this SRT. However, upon stoppage of sludge wastage from the reactors, thereby setting SRT to infinity, a steady culture could be maintained in the reactors. Both total gas production and CH4 percentage increased with the increasing doses of ozone with respect to control reactor. For 2.65 mg/g ozonated reactor total gas volume doubled the amount produced in the control reactor. All the EDCs within the scope of this study were analyzed in sludge using ultrasound-aided sequential sludge extraction method twice a week and the results showed that ozonation affected treatment of EDCs for up to 96%. The highest removal rate was obtained with natural hormones. Rates of treatment of pharmaceuticals were the second best.
Citation Formats
M. S. Ak, “Treatment of xenobiotics during anaerobic digestion and its enhancement upon post-ozonation of the anaerobically treated sludge,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2012.