Journal of hazardous materials vol:97 issue:1-3 pages:295-314
The waste activated sludge (WAS) treatment of wastewater produces excess sludge which needs further treatment prior to disposal or incineration. A reduction in the amount of excess sludge produced, and the increased dewaterability of the sludge are, therefore, subject of renewed attention and research. A lot of research covers the nature of the sludge solids and associated water. An improved dewaterability requires the disruption of the sludge cell structure. Previous investigations are reviewed in the paper. Thermal hydrolysis is recognized as having the best potential to meet the objectives and acid thermal hydrolysis is most frequently used, despite its serious drawbacks (corrosion, required post-neutralization, solubilization of heavy metals and phosphates, etc.). Alkaline thermal hydrolysis has been studied to a lesser extent, and is the subject of the detailed laboratory-scale research reported in this paper. After assessing the effect of monovalent/divalent cations (respectively, K+/Na+ and Ca2+/Mg2+) on the sludge dewaterability, only the use of Ca2+ appears to offer the best solution. The lesser effects of K+, Na+ and Mg2+ confirm previous experimental findings.