An activated sludge process which produces no excess sludge was developed. The process is very simple as a small amount of return sludge is ozonated and then returned to the aeration tank. The ozonation enhances biodegradability of activated sludge, which is biologically oxidized in the aeration tank.
A full-scale plant for treating 450m3/d of municipal wastewater was constructed and has been operated successfully for 9 months. The amount of excess sludge eliminated is directly proportional to the amount of ozone dosed to the sludge. At the ozone dosing rate of 0.034 kg/kg-SS, complete elimination of excess sludge has been achieved when 4 times more amount of sludge is ozonated than that of the excess sludge expected in the treatment without ozonation. After 5 months of operation without any withdrawal of excess sludge, small amount of inorganic substances like sand and silt accumulated in the sludge. On the other hand, inert organic substances does not seem to accumulate. As for effluent quality, BOD and nitrogen were kept good. Although effluent SS was 2–15 mg/l higher compared to a control without ozonation, it has been well below the discharge limit.