The feasibility of aerobic vessel composting and anaerobic digestion for the treatment of pulp and paper mill sludges were studied. The composting studies made use of primary and secondary sludge from a de-inking and paper mill. In six parallely aerated 500 1 vessels with various carbon : nitrogen (C:N) -ratios, the most optimal performance was obtained with C:N -ratios of c. 22–35, while higher and lower ratios delayed the temperature increase. With the optimal ratios, the thermophilic stage was reached within 36 h, and the stage lasted for about seven days. In the scale-up study (18 m3 compost vessel), the thermophilic stage was reached within 24 h. An effective dehydratation of the mass was obtained as the total solids (TS) content of the compost increased from 31.3– to 63.8– within 21 days.
The anaerobic digestion of pulp and paper mill sludges was studied using two mesophilic 5 1 digesters, their feed sludges consisting of a mixture of municipal sewage sludge and primary and secondary sludge from a pulp and paper mill. With this feed mixture and with a loading rate of about 1.0 kg volatile solids (VS)/m3d a removal of about 27 to 40– VS and methane production of about 180 1/kgVSadded feed sludge were achieved during the 80 d study period.
The study showed that pulp and paper mill sludges are amenable to both aerobic composting and anaerobic digestion.