The amount of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) dealing with solid separation problems has significantly increased since the new requirements of the EU Directive 271/91 on nutrient removal. In Flanders a number of the nutrient removal WWTP are affected by solid separation problems mostly attributed to Microthrix parvicella being the most common dominant species. The effect of dosing polyaluminium chloride (PAX-14) on activated sludge is illustrated for WWTP solids separation problems, in particular because of Microthrix parvicella. The effects of the addition of PAX-14 on the microbiology and the morphology of Microthrix parvicella were studied in 9 full-scale WWTPs. PAX-14 succeeded in reducing high SVI-values and controlled foaming problems whenever caused by Microthrix parvicella. Laboratory trials have shown that the dosage of PAX-14 should be less than 150 μL/L or 7 g Al3+/kg MLSS. At a dosage higher than 250 μL/L, an increase of free bacteria and a decrease of the protozoa activity are observed. In full-scale, PAX-14 is dosed at a concentration of 1.5 to 4.5 g Al3+/kg MLSS. Before addition, the mixed liquor scum layer – if present – should be removed. In our experience, the dosing should last for at least 3 weeks. During the first week, no drastic changes occur. At the end of the first week, an increase of SS and SVI is possible. The SVI and scum start to decrease after 10 to 15 days. The amount of filaments is reduced after 3 to 3½ weeks. The morphological properties of Microthrix parvicella change, while other filaments such as Nostocoida limicola and Nocardia spp. are not affected. This study proves that PAX-14 is effective in controlling bulking and foaming problems at WWTPs when they are due to Microthrix parvicella. Prediction of when the SVI will decrease and when addition should be stopped is possible.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.