Sewage sludge (municipal, or industrial) treatment is still a problem in so far that it is not satisfactorily resolved in terms of cost and final disposal. Two common forms of sludge disposal are possible; the first being direct disposal on land (including agriculture) and the second being incineration (ash production), although neither of these methods are universally applied. Simplifying the issue, direct sludge disposal on land is seldom applied for sanitary and environmental reasons, while incineration is not popular for financial (high costs) reasons. Very often medium and large wastewater treatment plants apply anaerobic digestion for sludge hygiene principles, reducing the amount to be disposed and for biogas (energy) production. With the progress in sewage biological treatment aiming at nutrient removal, primary sludge has been omitted in the working processes and only surplus activated sludge requires handling. Anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS) is more difficult due to the presence of microorganisms, the decomposition of which requires a relatively long time for hydrolysis. In order to upgrade the hydrolysis effects, several different pre-treatment processes have already been developed and introduced. The additional pre-treatment processes applied are aimed at residual sludge bulk mass minimization, shortening of the anaerobic digestion process or higher biogas production, and therefore require additional energy. The water-energy-waste Nexus (treads of) of the benefits and operational difficulties, including energy costs are discussed in this paper. The intensity of pre-treatment processes to upgrade the microorganism’s hydrolysis has crucial implications. Here a low intensity pre-treatment process, alkalisation and hydrodynamic disintegration - hybrid process - were presented in order to achieve sufficient effects of WAS anaerobic digestion. A sludge digestion efficiency increase expressed as 45% biogas additional production and 52% of the total or volatile solids reduction has been confirmed.
Primary or secondary sewage sludge in medium and large WWTP are most often processed by anaerobic digestion, as a method of conditioning, sludge quantity minimization and biogas production. With the aim to achieve the best results of sludge processing several modifications of technologies were suggested, investigated and introduced in the full technical scale. Various sludge pretreatment technologies before anaerobic treatment have been widely investigated and partially introduced. Obviously, there are always some limitations and some negative side effects. Selected aspects have been presented and discussed. The problem of nitrogen has been highlighted on the basis of the carried out investigations. The single and two step - mesophilic and thermophilic - anaerobic waste activated sludge digestion processes, preceded by preliminary hydrolysis were investigated. The aim of lab-scale experiments was pre-treatment of the sludge by means of low intensive alkaline and hydrodynamic disintegration. Depending on the pretreatment technologies and the digestion temperature large ammonia concentrations, up to 1800 mg NH4/dm3 have been measured. Return of the sludge liquor to the main sewage treatment line means additional nitrogen removal costs. Possible solutions are discussed.
The aim of the study was to develop an effective treatment of post-digestion liquors highly-loaded with biogenic and organic substances. The scope of the research project encompassed: mesophilic anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS) as well as the treatment of post-digestion liquors, coming from the most appropriate HRT value of 25 days, in the process of ammonium magnesium phosphate (struvite) precipitation targeted at ammonia nitrogen binding and a subsequent reverse osmosis (RO) process. It was established that the method combining chemical precipitation and high-pressure ﬁltration ensures a high degree of contaminants removal allowing for a direct release of treated liquors into the natural reservoir. However, in order to decrease the residual NH4+ concentration (6.1 mg NH4+/dm3) in the puriﬁed post-digestion liquors below the level allowing for a direct release to the natural reservoir, it turned out to be necessary to apply increased molar ratio of magnesium and phosphates (Mg:NH4+: PO43-= 1.5:1:1.5).
Improving the effects of hydrolysis on waste activated sludge (WAS) prior to anaerobic digestion is of primary importance. Several technologies have been developed and partially implemented in practice. In this paper, perhaps the simplest of these methods, alkaline solubilization, has been investigated and the results of hydrolysis are presented. An increase to only pH 8 can distinctively increase the soluble chemical oxygen demand (SCOD), and produce an anaerobic condition effect favorable to volatile fatty acids (VFA) production. Further increases of pH, up to pH 10, leads to further improvements in hydrolysis effects. It is suggested that an increase to pH 9 is sufficient and feasible for technical operations, given the use of moderate anti-corrosive construction material. This recommendation is also made having taken in consideration the option of using hydrodynamic disintegration after the initial WAS hydrolysis process. This paper presents the effects of following alkaline solubilization with hydrodynamic disintegration on SCOD