The aim of the study was to determine the performances of a combined ozone/anaerobic digestion system for waste activated sludge reduction. The objective was the estimation of the process efficiency and stability when keeping constant influent flow while increasing recycled chemically treated flow. The ozonation step consisted in a partial oxidation (0.16 g O3/g SS) of the anaerobic mesophilic digested sludge. Chemical treatment of digested sludge resulted in a threefold COD solubilization and a decrease of SS of 22%. Some of the advantages of digested sludge ozonation were: deodorization, better settlement and a reduction in viscosity. However there were drawbacks: foaming during ozonation and, at high ozone doses, poorer filterability. The anaerobic digestion was carried out over 6 months with an increasing recycling of ozonated flow. Suspended solids removal rate and COD removal rate were compared with initial operating conditions for the biological reactor and the whole combined process. The optimum recycling rate was 25% with increases of SS removal and COD removal of 54% and 66% respectively when considering the combined process; corresponding to a decrease of the hydraulic retention time from 24 days to 19 days.

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