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Mass balance-based plant-wide wastewater treatment plant models – Part 4: Aerobic digestion of primary and waste activated sludges

SW Sötemann, MC Wentzel, GA Ekama


From a theoretical investigation of the continuity of wastewater organic (COD) and N compounds along the links connecting the primary settling tank (PST), fully aerobic or N removal activated sludge (AS) treating raw and settled wastewater and aerobic digestion unit operations, it was found that the PS characteristics, viz. the biodegradable and unbiodegradable soluble and particulate COD and N concentrations, need to be calculated from mass balances around the PST so that the organic and N concentrations conform to continuity principles. Also, it can be accepted that the influent wastewater (fixed) inorganic suspended
solids (ISS) concentration is conserved through the primary settling tank, activated sludge, aerobic digestion systems. However, the measured ISS flux at different stages through a series of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) unit operations is not equal to the influent ISS flux because the OHO biomass contributes to the ISS flux by differing amounts depending on the active fraction of the VSS solids at that stage. The steady state activated sludge and aerobic digestion models, both modified to include the inorganic suspended solids (ISS) and the latter to include aerobic digestion of primary sludge, yielded virtually
identical results as Activated Sludge Model No 1 (ASM1), also modified to include the ISS. This research shows that the mass balance-based steady state activated sludge and aerobic digestion models, modified to include the ISS compound, can be coupled to produce a plant-wide WWTP model for aerobic stabilisation of sludge that can be used for design and operation and checking of simulation model results.

Water SA Vol.32 (3) 2006: pp.297-306
AJOL African Journals Online