The need to reduce energy input and enhance energy recovery from wastewater is driving renewed interest in high-rate activated sludge treatment (i.e. short hydraulic and solids retention times (HRT and SRT, respectively)). This process generates short SRT activated sludge stream, which should be highly degradable. However, the evaluation of anaerobic digestion of short SRT sludge has been limited. This paper assesses anaerobic digestion of short SRT sludge digestion derived from meat processing wastewater under thermophilic and mesophilic conditions. The thermophilic digestion system (55°C) achieved 60 and 68% volatile solids destruction at 8 day and 10 day HRT, respectively, compared with 50% in the mesophilic digestion system (35°C, 10 day HRT). The digestion effluents from the thermophilic (8–10 day HRT) and mesophilic systems were stable, as assessed by residual methane potentials. The ammonia rich sludge dewatering liquor was effectively treated by a batch anammox process, which exhibited comparable nitrogen removal rate as the tests using a control synthetic ammonia solution, indicating that the dewatering liquor did not have inhibiting/toxic effects on the anammox activity.

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