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Intermittent Ozone Application in Aerobic Sludge Digestion

Muz, Melis
Ak, M. Selcen
Komesli, Okan T.
Gökçay, Celal Ferdi
Excess biological sludge, WAS, produced during activated sludge process is a growing problem for the utilities owing to the stringent regulations now imposed worldwide. One method of handling the excess sludge is to digest it, to reduce its amount and to stabilize it. Aerobic digestion is particularly suitable for nutrient treating plants as sludge should not be exposed to anaerobiosis since this will lead to release of accumulated phosphorus. A novel and patented ozone-assisted aerobic sludge digestion process (PCT/TR2010/000213) is shown to appreciably shorten the 15-30-day aerobic digestion period and the extent of solids destroyed. WAS samples were ozonated for different periods in Erlenmeyer flasks, once a day, on each of four consecutive days. Flasks were continuously aerated between ozone applications. The MLVSS, MLSS, COD and OUR parameters were measured routinely during the course of four days of digestion in order to optimize the process. As a result 22.6%, 40%, 75% and 84% MLVSS reductions were obtained at total ozone applications of 0.42, 0.64, 0.85 and 1.27 mg O-3 g(-1) MLSS, at the end of the fourth day. Hence, it became possible to save on contact time as well as achieving a bio-solids digestion far exceeding the standard aerobic process, which is 40-50% in 15-30 days, at the expense of a minimum of ozone dose. The developed process is deemed superior over side-stream ozonation where ozone is applied to the return activated sludge, RAS, line; in that it does not cause any reduction in active biomass amount maintained in the aeration tank. Conversely, reduction in active biomass concentration results in reduced treatment efficiency.