At a large Austrian municipal wastewater treatment plant enhanced stabilisation of anaerobically digested sewage sludge was required in order to get a permit for landfill disposal of the dewatered stabilized sludge. By implementing a post-aeration treatment after anaerobic digestion the organic content of the anaerobically well digested sludge can be decreased by 16%. Investigations at this plant showed that during digested sludge post-aeration anoxic phases are needed to provide stable process conditions. In this way the pH value can be kept in a more favourable range for micro-organisms and concrete structures. Additionally, under the process conditions applied nitrite accumulation would inhibit the stabilisation process if denitrification is not adequately applied. By optimising the aeration/pause ratio ∼45% of total nitrogen in digested sludge can be removed. NH4-removal occurs through nitritation and denitritation with an efficiency of 98%. This significantly improves nitrogen removal efficiency at the wastewater treatment plant. The costs/benefit analysis shows that post-aeration of digested sludge results in an increase of total annual costs for wastewater treatment of only 0.84%, corresponding to 0.19 Euro/pe/a. Specific costs for nitrogen removal (0.32 Euro/kgN) are comparable with other biological processes for N-removal in reject water.

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