Sludge liquor from the sludge dewatering process has a high ammonia content. In the present study, a lab-scale electrochemical (EC) system with a pair of Ti electrode plates was used for treating the sludge centrate liquor of digested wastewater sludge with a NH+4−N content of around 500 mg/L. The sludge liquor had a high salinity due to seawater being used for toilet flushing in Hong Kong. The results show that the EC process is highly effective for denitrification of the saline sludge liquor. Complete nitrogen removal could be achieved within 1 hr or so. The rate of EC denitrification increased with the current intensity applied. The best current efficiency for nitrogen removal was obtained for a gap distance between the electrodes at 8 mm. Electro-chlorination was considered to be the major mechanism of EC denitrification. The formation of chlorination by-products (CBPs) appeared to be minimal with the total trihalomethanes (THM) detected at a level of 300 μg/L or lower. The power consumption for EC denitrification was around 23 kWh/kg N. Additional electro-flocculation with a pair of iron needle electrodes could enhance the flocculation and subsequent sedimentation of colloidal organics in the sludge liquor, increasing the organic removal from less than 30% to more than 70%. Therefore, the EC process including both electro-denitrification and electro-flocculation can be developed as the most cost-effective method for treatment of the saline sludge liquor.

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