This study investigated the performance of sludge drying reed beds (SDRB) at full- and pilot-scale treating sludge from septic tanks in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The treatment units, planted with Cynodon spp., were based on an adaptation of the first-stage of the French vertical-flow constructed wetland, originally developed for treating sewage. Two different operational phases were investigated; in the first one, the full-scale unit was used together with six pilot-scale columns in order to test different feeding strategies. For the second phase, only the full-scale unit was used, including a recirculation of the filtered effluent (percolate) to one of the units of the French vertical wetland. Sludge application was done once a week emptying a full truck, during 25 weeks. The sludge was predominantly diluted, leading to low solids loading rates (median values of 18 kgTS m−2year−1). Chemical oxygen demand removal efficiency in the full-scale unit was reasonable (median of 71%), but the total solids removal was only moderate (median of 44%) in the full-scale unit without recirculation. Recirculation did not bring substantial improvements in the overall performance. The other loading conditions implemented in the pilot columns also did not show statistically different performances.
Performance of a system with full- and pilot-scale sludge drying reed bed units treating septic tank sludge in Brazil
Luisa Fernanda Calderón-Vallejo, Cynthia Franco Andrade, Elias Sete Manjate, Carlos Arturo Madera-Parra, Marcos von Sperling; Performance of a system with full- and pilot-scale sludge drying reed bed units treating septic tank sludge in Brazil. Water Sci Technol 1 June 2015; 71 (12): 1751–1759. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2015.134
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