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cmutsvangwa : Wastewater Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST

11/10/2006

14-1

of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-1 ACTIVATED SLUD GE TREATMENT Introduction During 1913/1914,
of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-1 ACTIVATED SLUD GE TREATMENT Introduction During 1913/1914,

ACTIVATED SLUDGE TREATMENT

Introduction During 1913/1914, Arden and Locket aerated settled sewage over an extended period to produce activated sludge, which when mixed with wastewater and aerated, would bring about nearly complete stabilization in few hours. The activated sludge consists of flocculent mass of bacteria intimately mixed with the polysaccharide shells of dead microorganisms. This technology has been applied in the treatment of wastewater and can be described as dispersed suspended growth system comprising of a mass of microorganisms and wastewater. The microorganisms are kept in intimate contact with the wastewater by mixing. The mixing and the incoming wastewater constantly supply the organic matter and oxygen for the microorganisms. The mixing apparatus is also responsible for keeping the suspension aerated. The microorganisms (saprophytic bacteria) convert organic matter and oxygen to ammonium salts, water, CO 2 , new bacterial cells and energy. The microorganisms are constantly being washed out of the reactor by the flow of the incoming wastewater and settle as sludge in the secondary sedimentation tanks. A fraction of this settled sludge (activated) is recycled back to the reactor to provide enough biomass to achieve BOD removal and the other fraction, which is not recycled (excess), is wasted (Fig. 1).

Inflow wastewater

Sedimentation tank

Bioreactor (MLSS) Final Effluent Air Q waste
Bioreactor
(MLSS)
Final
Effluent
Air
Q waste

Return activated sludge (RAS)

Fig. 1 Schematic illustration of activated sludge process

The unique merit of this process is that it produces an effluent, which complies for most of the times with very stringent requirements of the Water Regulations for discharge directly into a watercourse. The process requires less land compared to other treatment processes. Furthermore, the process is associated with less odours and health risks. However the process has the following constrains:

Employs more mechanical and electrical plant making it rather expensive.

Requires more skilled manpower to design, construct, supervise and maintain.

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skilled manpower to design, construct, supervise and maintain. 1 Chapter 14 Introduction to activated sludge treatment
skilled manpower to design, construct, supervise and maintain. 1 Chapter 14 Introduction to activated sludge treatment

Chapter 14

Introduction to activated sludge treatment

cmutsvangwa : Wastewater Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST

11/10/2006

14-2

of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-2 Components of Activated Sludge Process • Reactor in
of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-2 Components of Activated Sludge Process • Reactor in

Components of Activated Sludge Process

Reactor in which the wastewater to be treated is in contact with the activated sludge.

Means of transferring oxygen to the reactor

Means of agitation to ensure sufficient contact between activated sludge, wastewater and oxygen

System to separate the activated sludge from the purified wastewater

System to recycle the activated sludge to the reactor.

Methods of aeration

Air Diffusion Dust free air is passed through narrow pore diffusers at the bottom of the mixed liquor tanks. The small bubbles produced have a high surface area to volume ratio, which encourages oxygen transfer to the liquid phase as the oxygen bubbles. Common types of diffusers are dome shaped and made of ceramic material and silica. There are about 178mm in diameter with pore sizes of 150µm. The disadvantage of diffusers is that they get blocked from time to time and hence need some form of cleaning. Since the diffusers are at the bottom, it becomes difficult to identify quickly any blockages.

Surface aerators They can either be vertical or horizontal and they are low head volume centrifugal pumps, which create an outward radial torrential flow of MLSS across the tank surface (Fig. 2). The turbulence produced increases the surface area of contact between the MLSS and air enhancing the uptake of atmospheric oxygen.

MLSS and air enhancing the uptake of atmospheric oxygen. Fig. 2 Vertical and horizontal shaft aerators

Fig. 2 Vertical and horizontal shaft aerators

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atmospheric oxygen. Fig. 2 Vertical and horizontal shaft aerators 2 Chapter 14 Introduction to activated sludge
atmospheric oxygen. Fig. 2 Vertical and horizontal shaft aerators 2 Chapter 14 Introduction to activated sludge

Chapter 14

Introduction to activated sludge treatment

cmutsvangwa : Wastewater Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST

11/10/2006

14-3

of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-3 Parameters of Design and operation Mixed liquor suspended
of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-3 Parameters of Design and operation Mixed liquor suspended

Parameters of Design and operation

Mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) This constitute the reactor contents and comprises of mass of activated sludge solids per unit volume of aeration channel and ranges from 1.5 to 5 kg/m 3 depending on air supply, settleability of sludge in final clarifies, return sludge pumping capacity and size of tanks.

Sludge age (Mean cell residence time) The fraction of the activated sludge solids which is wasted determine the average amount of time which the microorganisms will spend in the bioreactor

Sludge age

=the total solids in the reactor (kg)

divided by the solids wastes (kg/days)

, days

The sludge age varies from 2 days in high rate plants to more than 30 days in extended-aerated plants.

Organic loading It is the organic amount (BOD) applied per unit volume of aeration tank and varies from 0.4 to 2 kg BOD/day.

Organic loading kg/BOD/days

=BOD

of

wastewater

(kg/m 3 )

x

influent

flow

(m 3 /d)

,

Reactor volume (m 3 ) x reactor solids (kg/m 3 )

Hydraulic retention time The time the wastewater spends in the reactor and it varies from 3 to 48 hours and can be computed from:

θ

=

Reactor volume (m 3 ) Flow (m 3 /day)

Food: Microorganism ration (F/M) The ration of the food substrate to the microorganisms in the reactor.

F/M

=

BOD of wastewater (kg/m 3 ) x influent flow (m 3 /d) Reactor volume (m 3 ) x Reactor solids (kg/m 3 )

, days -1

=

BODxQ V x MLSS

The F/M ratio is the only the form of loading over which the operator has control. It gives a good indication of the state of the plant without reference to other more

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of the state of th e plant without reference to other more 3 Chapter 14 Introduction
of the state of th e plant without reference to other more 3 Chapter 14 Introduction

Chapter 14

Introduction to activated sludge treatment

cmutsvangwa : Wastewater Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST

11/10/2006

14-4

of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-4 variable parameters. An operator has some control by
of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-4 variable parameters. An operator has some control by

variable parameters. An operator has some control by adjusting the proportions of sludge wasted and returned. Increasing sludge wastage rate will cause an increase

in the F/M ratio. The F/M ratio varies from 0.05 to 1 day -1 .

Sludge settleability The degree of treatment achieved in an aeration process depends directly on settleability of the activated sludge in the final sedimentation tank. A biological floc that settles leaves a clear supernatant for discharge and poorly flocculated particles contribute to suspended solids and BOD in the effluent. The excessive carryover of flocs due to poor settleability is referred to as sludge bulking and is caused by:

Insufficient aeration

Return sludge capacity

Presence of toxic substances

Overloading

High F/M ratio

Fluctuation in flow and strength of wastewater

Short-circuiting

Sludge volume index (SVI)

A measure of the settleability of sludge and is the volume in ml occupied by 1 gram

of settled suspended solids. A method to determine the SVI is schematically illustrated in Fig. 3. MLSS samples are drawn from reactor near the discharge end and filled into a one-liter cylinder. The initial concentration of MLSS is noted. The sample is allowed to settle for 30 minutes and the volume occupied by the settled solids is read. An SVI of 50 to 150 ml/g indicates a good settling sludge. The SVI is calculated as:

SVI = Vx1000 ml/g MLSS Where V MLSS =Volume of settled solids, ml =Suspended solids
SVI
=
Vx1000
ml/g
MLSS
Where V
MLSS
=Volume of settled solids, ml
=Suspended solids in mg/l
Qi
Reactor (MLSS)
Qi+Qr
Qe
Return activated sludge, Qr
Volume of
settled sludge
Fig. 3 Schematic illustration on how to determine the SVI

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sludge Fig. 3 Schematic illustration on how to determine the SVI 4 Chapter 14 Introduction to
sludge Fig. 3 Schematic illustration on how to determine the SVI 4 Chapter 14 Introduction to

Chapter 14

Introduction to activated sludge treatment

cmutsvangwa : Wastewater Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST

11/10/2006

14-5

of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-5 By performing a mass balance on Fig. 3,
of Civil & Water Engineering, NUST 11/10/2006 14-5 By performing a mass balance on Fig. 3,

By performing a mass balance on Fig. 3, the quantity of return sludge can be estimated as:

Q

r

=

V

Q Q

+

r

1000

 

Qr

Q

V

1000

Where;

=flow of recirculated activated sludge, m3/day

=average flow of wastewater to aeration basin, m3/day

=volume of settled solids in 1 liter graduated cylinder, ml/l =ml/l

The suspended solids in the recirculated activated sludge:

SVI in ml/gram and SS in mg/l

SS =

1000000

SVI

Rising sludge This refers to a sludge, which will rise after settling and float to the surface after relatively a short settling period. This is due to the denitrification in which the nitrates are converted to gaseous nitrogen. The nitrogen gas is formed in the sludge layer and much of it is trapped in the sludge mass. If enough gas is formed, the sludge becomes buoyant and rises to float at the top. Rising sludge cab be differentiated from bulking sludge by noting the presence of small gas bubbles attached to the floating solids.

Rising sludge can be overcome by:

Increasing the return activated sludge withdrawal from the clarifier to reduce the detention time of the sludge in the clarifier. This reduces the sludge depth thereby reduce the anoxic conditions which are conducive for the denitrification.

Decreasing the rate of flow of the mixed liquor into the offending clarifier

References

1. Droste L., (1997), Theory and Practice of Water and Wastewater Treatment, John Wiley, Canada

2. Ellis K., (1995), Unpublished Lecture Notes in Wastewater Engineering, Loughborough University, UK

3. Gray N., (1992), Biology of Wastewater, Oxford Science, UK

4. Mara D., (1976), Sewage Treatment in Hot Climates, John Wiley, UK

5. Mara D., (1997), Design of Waste Stabilisation Ponds in India, Lagoon Technology, UK

6. Metcalf and Eddy, (1991), Wastewater Engineering, Treatment, Disposal and Reuse, McGraw Hill, US

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Engineering, Treat ment, Disposal and Reuse, McGraw Hill, US 5 Chapter 14 Introduction to activated sludge
Engineering, Treat ment, Disposal and Reuse, McGraw Hill, US 5 Chapter 14 Introduction to activated sludge

Chapter 14

Introduction to activated sludge treatment