Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering vol:14 issue:1 pages:105-113
The present paper reports on extensive investigations using an ultrasonic treatment of WAS, to study its potential to meet one or all of four objectives: (1) reduce WAS quantities; (2) achieve a better dewaterability; (3) provoke a release of COD from the biosolids, preferably transformed into biodegradable organics and (4) possibly destroy the filamentous micro-organisms responsible for sludge bulking. The experiments are carried out in a batch reactor of volume up to 2.3L. The ultrasonic apparatus consisted of a generator, a converter and a sonotrode, supplied by Alpha Ultrasonics under the brand name of Telsonic. Three different sludge kinds were tested, at approximate concentration (DS/WAS) between 3.5 and 20g.L-1. The release of COD from the WAS-phase into the filtrate phase is a function of the specific energy-input SE with yields of about 30% achievable at SE-values of 30000 kJ.kg(-1). A major fraction of the COD is transformed into biodegradable organics (BOD). The reduction of DS-fraction of the sludge is equivalent to the COD-release rates. Although the dry solids content (DS) is reduced, the dewaterability of the sludge is not improved. This reflects itself in a slightly decreased dryness of the filter cake using vacuum filtration, and in increased values of the capillary suction time (CST). This more difficult dewaterability is the result of considerably reduced floc sizes, offering an extended surface area. More surface water is bound (CST increases) and the filterability decreases due to clogging of the cake. To reach the same dryness as the untreated cake, the required dosage of poly-electrolyte increases proportionally with the level of ultrasound energy supplied. The ultrasonic reduction of filamentous WAS organisms is not conclusive and very little effect is seen at low intensities and short treatment durations. Microscopic analysis of the WAS identified the dominant presence of Actynomyces. Especially the release of COD and its transformation into BOD certainly merit further research.