Further reduction of volatile suspended solids (VSS) during a post-stabilisation step was applied to evaluate the stabilisation degree of digested sewage sludge. For this purpose digested sludge was collected at four municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and further stabilised in lab-scale chemostat reactors either under anaerobic or aerobic conditions. Experimental results showed that even in adequately digested sludge a consistent amount of VSS was degraded during aerobic post-stabilisation. It seems that aerobic conditions play a significant role during degradation of residual VSS. Additionally, specific VSS production (gVSS/peCOD110.d) as well as specific oxygen uptake rate were shown to be suitable parameters to assess the degree of sludge stabilisation at WWTPs. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to reveal changes in the sludge composition. Spectra of treated and untreated sludge samples indicated that the major component of residual VSS in stabilised sludge for instance consisted of biomass, while cellulose was absent.

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