Deleterious effects of soluble extracellular polymeric substances on polyacrylamide demand for conditioning of anaerobically digested sludge

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 2019, 7 (2)
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10.1016j.jece.2019.102941.pdfAccepted Manuscript Version921.46 kB
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. High polyacrylamide (polymer) demand for conditioning of sludge, especially anaerobically digested sludge (ADS), is a major issue for the water industry. Currently, this problem is being investigated and the reasons for doing so are varied. It has been demonstrated that excess amounts of soluble extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) can lead to high polymer demand for conditioning. This study developed a simple and unique yet effective method for quantifying the contribution of soluble EPS to conditioning polymer demand. It did this by measuring absorbance at 191.5 nm wavelength of the supernatant derived from conditioned ADS. Experimental results confirmed that approximately 87 wt% of soluble EPS interacted with polyacrylamides during the conditioning process. Furthermore, they revealed that a specified amount of soluble EPS could not be removed by polymer flocculation despite high polymer dosage. This study concluded that about 86 wt% of the polyacrylamide used for conditioning was consumed solely by soluble EPS. These results confirm the important role of reducing this EPS fraction in ADS in order to curtail significant chemical costs for sludge conditioning and dewatering.
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