Sludge disposal has become a new challenge for the Taiwan government due to the increasing demand for better quality and greater quantity of water. In some water treatment plants, surfactant has been applied in the flotation process to improve its performance, which suggests the use of surfactant in sludge conditioning. In this study, effects of surfactants on the conditioning of the alum sludge collected from Feng-Yuan Water Treatment Plant were investigated. Surfactants of various charges, namely CTAB and SDS, were added to sludge samples in various amounts, and their effects on sludge dewaterability were evaluated. Surfactants were also added with either cationic or anionic polymers to better understand their effects on the mechanism of sludge conditioning and the feasibility as coagulant aid.Experimental results indicate that applying surfactants alone in sludge system decrease the filterability of sludge, but increase the sludge dewatering rate at optimum dosage. Cationic surfactant was proven possible as conditioning aid for the cationic polymer. The order of surfactant and polymer addition is the key to additive function. On the other hand, when the polymer of opposite charge was added with the surfactant, co-precipitation occurred which resulted in decreased filterability and dewaterability.

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