This paper provides new insights on the application of the ozonation process for the reduction of the activated sludge production in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR). The study was performed in two identical lab-scale SBRs plant, one for experimental activities (Exp SBR) and one used as control (Control SBR), both fed with domestic sewage. A fraction of the activated sludge collected from the Exp SBR at the end of the aerobic react phase was periodically subjected to ozonation for 30 minutes at three different specific dosages (0.05, 0.07 and 0.37 g O3/gSS) and then recirculated before the beginning of the following cycle.
Recirculation of the ozonated sludge to the Exp SBR did not appreciably affect the efficiency of the biological nitrogen and carbon removal processes. Nonetheless, an improvement of the denitrification kinetic was observed. Mixed liquor volatile and suspended solids (MLSS and MLVSS, respectively) concentrations in the reactor decreased significantly with time for long term application of the ozonation treatment. Kinetic batch tests on unstressed sludge taken from Control SBR indicated that the different oxidant dosages (0.05, 0.07 and 0.37 g O3/gSS) and durations of the ozonation process (10, 20 and 30 minutes) used remarkably affected chemical oxygen demand (COD) and organic nitrogen fractioning. In particular, soluble and biodegradable fractions seemed to be higher at lower dosage and longer contact time.