In many cases, reducing sludge production could be the solution for wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) that here difficulty evacuating the residuals of wastewater treatment. The aim of this study was to test the possibility of minimising the excess sludge production by coupling a thermal hydrolysis stage and an anaerobic digestion with a very short HRT. The tests were carried out on a 2,500 p.e. pilot plant installed on a recycling loop between the clarifier and the actived sludge basin. The line equipped with the full scale pilot plant produced 38% TSS less than the control line during a 10 week period. Moreover, the rapid anaerobic digestion removed, on average, more than 50% of the total COD load with a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 3 days. Lastly, the dryness of the remaining excess sludge, sanitised by the thermal hydrolysis, was more than 35% with an industrial centrifuge. This combination of thermal hydrolysis and rapid anaerobic digestion equally permits a significant gain of compactness compared to traditional anaerobic digesters.

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