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Struvite formation for enhanced dewaterability of digested wastewater sludge

Bergmans, B.J.C., Veltman, A.M., van Loosdrecht, M.C.M., van Lier, J.B., Rietveld, L.C.
Environmental technology 2014 v.35 no.5 pp. 549-555
activated sludge, dewatering, environmental technology, filtration, gravity, laboratory experimentation, magnesium, magnesium ammonium phosphate, magnesium chloride, mixing, orthophosphates, pH, polymers, wastewater
One of the main advantages of controlled struvite formation in digested sludge is an improvement in dewaterability of the digested sludge, which eventually leads to lower volumes of dewatered sludge that need to be transported. The effects of the control parameters for struvite formation, magnesium concentration and pH, on digested sludge dewaterability were investigated and are discussed in relation to the efficiency of struvite formation. Laboratory experiments with digested activated sludge were performed in a 20 L batch reactor. CO ₂ was stripped from the digested sludge using a bubble aerator and magnesium chloride was added to induce struvite formation. The dewaterability of the sludge was determined by gravity filtration tests. In the experiments, either the pH or the molar magnesium to phosphate ratio (Mg:PO ₄) was varied. The results confirm improved sludge dewaterability after struvite formation. Magnesium to phosphate ratios above 1.0 mol/mol did not further improve dewaterability. The addition of magnesium did not prevent the need for polymer addition for sludge dewatering. An increase in pH led to a deterioration in dewaterability. The best dewaterability results were found at the lowest pH value (pH =7.0), while stirring the sludge instead of using the bubble aerator. At these settings, an orthophosphate removal of around 80% was achieved.