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The effect of wastewater cations on activated sludge characteristics: effects of aluminum and iron in floc

TitleThe effect of wastewater cations on activated sludge characteristics: effects of aluminum and iron in floc
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsPark C, Muller C.D., Abu-Orf M.M., Novak JT
JournalWater Environment Research
Volume78
Issue1
Start Page31
Pagination31-40
Type of Article01/2006
Keywordsactivated sludge, Aluminum, Biopolymer, cations, conditioning, dewatering, Effluent, floc, iron, protein
Abstract

Wastewater samples collected from seven wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) were characterized to assess the impacts of wastewater cations on the activated sludge process. The cations included in this study were sodium (Na+), potassium, ammonium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum (Al), and iron (Fe). Among the selected cations, Al and Fe were of most interest to this study because their role in bioflocculation has not been extensively studied and remains largely unknown. The data showed that WWTPs contained highly varying concentrations of Na+, Al, and Fe in the wastewater and that these cations were responsible for differences between WWTPs as to sludge dewatering rates and effluent quality. In general, a high influent Na+ concentration caused poor sludge dewatering and effluent characteristics. However, when sufficient Al and Fe were present in floc, the deleterious effects of Na+ were offset. The data associated with Al further revealed that waste activated sludge with low Al contained high concentrations of soluble and colloidal biopolymer (protein + polysaccharide), resulting in a high effluent chemical oxygen demand, high conditioning chemical requirements, and poor sludge dewatering properties. These results suggest that Al will improve activated sludge effluent quality by scavenging organic compounds from solution and binding them to floc.

DOI10.2175/106143005X84495