Bioleaching using an iron-oxidizing bacterium, Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, and its biogenic flocculants was evaluated to improve the dewaterability of chemically enhanced primary treatment (CEPT) sewage sludge. CEPT sludge in flasks was inoculated with A. ferrooxidans culture, medium-free cells and the cell-free culture filtrate with and without the energy substance Fe2+, and periodically the sludge samples were analysed for the dewaterability. This investigation proves that bioleaching effectively improved the sludge dewaterability as evidenced from drastic reduction in capillary suction time (≤20 seconds) and specific resistance to filtration (≥90%); however, it requires an adaptability period of 1–2 days. On the other hand, the biogenic flocculant produced by A. ferrooxidans greatly decreased the time-to-filtration and facilitated the dewaterability within 4 h. Results indicate that rapid dewatering of CEPT sludge by biogenic flocculants provides an opportunity to replace the synthetic organic polymer for dewatering.

You do not currently have access to this content.