In 1989-91, a study was performed to investigate the settling characteristics of activated sludge in Danish treatment plants with biological nutrient removal. The study included three screening series on 38 treatment plants. Furthermore, the study included investigations during one year on seasonal variations in sludge settling characteristics at three treatment plants. The screening investigations were performed in November 1989 and May and September, 1990. Results showed that in the May-screening, 35-45% of the plants had a filament index of 2-2.5 or above, corresponding to a sludge volume index above 150 ml/g. When comparing data for diluted and non-diluted sludge volume indices, a SVI value of 150 ml/g seemed parallel to a DSVI of 110 ml/g. In the November- and September-screenings, some 30% of the plants had activated sludge showing a filament index in or above the critical area. Dominating filamentous microorganisms were found to be (in decreasing order): Microthrix parvicella, Type 0041, Type 021N, Type 0092, Type 0914, and Type 1851. A distinct variation over the year in sludge settling characteristics was found for the three plants. Sludge settling characteristics improved during summer, and deteriorated during winter. For activated sludge with a high content of filamentous microorganisms, the best parameter to follow the variations in sludge settling properties was the filament number. If the activated sludge concentration, the MLSS, varied significantly, the specific filament number was to be applied.

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