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Understanding and optimization of the flocculation process in biological wastewater treatment processes: A review

Suresh, Akshaykumar, Grygolowicz-Pawlak, Ewa, Pathak, Santosh, Poh, Leong Soon, Abdul Majid, Maszenan bin, Dominiak, Dominik, Bugge, Thomas Vistisen, Gao, Xin, Ng, Wun Jern
Chemosphere 2018 v.210 pp. 401-416
flocculation, sludge, wastewater treatment
In the operation of biological wastewater treatment processes, fast sludge settling during liquid-solids disengagement is preferred as it affects effluent quality, treatment efficiency and plant operation economy. An important property of fast settling biological sludge is the ability to spontaneously form big and dense flocs (flocculation) that readily separates from water. Therefore, there had been much research to study the conditions that promote biological sludge flocculation. However, reported findings have often been inconsistent and this has possibly been due to the complex nature of the biological flocculation process. Thus, it has been challenging for wastewater treatment plant operators to extract practical information from the literature. The aim of this review is to summarize the current state of understanding of the factors that affect sludge flocculation so that evaluation of such information can be facilitated and strategize for intervention in the sludge flocculation and deflocculation process.