The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Chemical conditioning of sludge

TitleChemical conditioning of sludge
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsNovak JT, Park C
JournalWater Science and Technology
Start Page73
Date Published05/2004

With all the advances made in understanding the structure and composition of sewage sludges, chemical conditioning remains a trial and error process, both with regard to the type and dose of conditioner needed. Recent studies at Virginia Tech have found that biological floc consists of two types of biopolymer, material associated with iron and aluminium and material associated with calcium and magnesium. These materials behave differently when sludges undergo digestion. This results in very different material being released into solution during digestion and very different conditioning requirements. This study shows that the primary materials released during anaerobic digestion are proteins and coagulation of the colloidal protein fraction in solution is the primary mechanism for conditioning. For aerobically digested sludges, both proteins and polysaccharides make up the colloid fraction, which interferes with dewatering. This research also shows that the effectiveness of the digestion process as characterized by volatile solids destruction is directly related to the chemical dose required for conditioning. That is, as the solids destruction increases, the conditioning chemical requirement also increases. Well digested sludges dewater more poorly and require more conditioning chemical than those with less volatile solids destruction.