This paper presents three new approaches to reduce excess sludge production in activated sludge systems: 1) modification of conventional activated sludge process with insertion of a sludge holding tank in the sludge return line; 2) chlorination of excess sludge so as to minimize excess sludge production; and 3) utilization of a metabolic uncoupler, 3, 3′, 4′, 5-Tetrachlorosalicylanilide (TCS) to maximize futile activity of sludge microorganisms thereby leading to a reduction of sludge growth. Pilot study was carried out to evaluate this modified activated sludge process (OSA). It has been confirmed that the OSA process is effective in reducing excess sludge; particularly when the ORP level in the sludge holding tank was kept at -250 mV, more than 50% of the excess sludge was reduced. This process can maintain the effluent quality and even perform with a better sludge settleability than a conventional system. Experimental work on the second approach showed that chlorination treatment of excess sludge at a chlorine dose of 0.066 g Cl2/g MLSS reduced the excess sludge by 60%, while concentration of THMS was found below 200 ppb in the treated sludge. However, such sludge chlorination treatment sacrificed sludge settleability. Thus, it is not feasible to introduce the chlorination step to a conventional system. The third approach confirmed that addition of TCS could reduce sludge growth effectively if the TCS concentration is greater than 0.4 ppm. A 0.8-ppm concentration of TCS actually reduced excess sludge by 45%. It was also experimentally demonstrated that presence of TCS increases the portion of active sludge microorganisms over the entire microbial population.

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