Studies concerning the treatment, stabilization and final disposal of biosolids, one of the by-products of wastewater treatment, in environmental recovery, have been intensified by the sanitary and environmental effects of land disposal. The careful assessment of biosolid quality shows that, when appropriately managed, the environmental risks of their uses can be minimized by chemical stabilization, and biosolids could even be used as fertilizer and soil conditioner.

A research study of biosolid stabilization was performed using lime as a standard process compared to potassium ferrate (VI). The chances of leaching and solubilization of metals were tested, simulating conditions for disposal in the environment. The sanitary effectiveness in terms of pathogens (bacteria, fungi and helminth eggs) were also evaluated.

Experiments were performed on the lime and ferrate(VI) treatment of compounds such as ammonia, nitrate, soluble sulphides, and total sulphates, indicators of odouriferous offensive compounds which might occasionally prevent some uses of the solids, and the results are presented in this paper.

Wastewater Treatment Plants emit offensive odours generated during the sewage treatment process, as well as during the treatment and the management of biosolids. This occurs in the drying beds and the spreading of biosolids on land, due to the high concentrations of sulphur compounds, nitrogen compounds, acids and organic compounds (aldehydes and ketones).

The potassium ferrate(VI) utilized in the research is a powerful oxidizing agent throughout the pH scale, with the advantage of not generating by-products which will cause toxicity or mutagenicity (DE LUCA, 1981). The ion ferrate(VI) has greater oxidizing power than permanganate, e.g., it oxidizes reduced sulfur forms to sulphate, ammonia to nitrate, hypochlorite to chlorite and chlorite to chlorate(DE LUCA et al., 1992; CHAO et al., 1992).

This paper shows that, as expected, the potassium ferrate (VI) treatment replaces several chemical products utilized for odour control of sludges, mainly aggressive odours caused by ammonia and sulphides, through the formation of precipitates with iron compounds. Ferrate (VI) has often been shown to destroy soluble sulphides, transforming them into sulphate. The generation of oxygen in the decomposition of ferrate(VI) increases its oxidizing power. Ferrate(VI) applied to sludges also has the double effect of transforming ammonia into nitrates, such that this product takes the place of sulphates, acting as an electron acceptor, thus preventing the development of further odours when biosolids are utilized.

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