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Determining the quantity of sludge produced in the treatment of wastewater is

required for the sizing of sludge processing units and equipment such as sludge
pumps, storage tanks, thickeners, digesters, and incinerators. The best approach in
estimating solids production is to base the estimate on historical data from similar
facilities and the anticipated influent strength. In the absence of historic or plant-
specific data, a rule-of-thumb approximation for solids produced in a typical
wastewater treatment plant is O.24kg/m 3 (1 dry ton/MG of wastewater treated (WEF,
1998). It is also important to take into account the effects of industrial contribution.
Storm water flows, and temperature on the influent wastewater characteristics and
therefore on solids production. (Turovskiy and Mathal, 2006).

Data on the quantities of solids produced from various processes and operations are
presented in Table 1. Although the data below are useful, it should be noted that the
quantity of solids produced would vary widely. Table 2 presents corresponding data
on the solids concentrations expected from various processes.

Quantity Variations
The quantity of solids entering the wastewater-treatment plant daily may be
expected to fluctuate over a wide range. To ensure capacity capable of handling
these variations, the designer of solids processing and disposal facilities should
consider the following:

1. Average and maximum rates of solids production

2. The potential storage capacity of the treatment units within the plant.

For the variation in daily quantity that may be expected in large cities is shown on
Fig. 1. The curve is characteristic of large cities having a number of large collection
lines laid on flat slopes, even greater variations may be expected at small plants.

Volume-Mass Relationship

The volume of sludge depends mainly on its water content and only slightly on the
character of the solid matter. For a 10 percent sludge, it is fully assumed that it
contains 90 percent water by weight. If the solid matter is composed of fixed
(mineral) solids and volatile (organic) solids, the specific gravity of all of the solid
matter can be computed using the following equation:


SS Sf Sv

WS weight of solids
Wf weight offi xed solids (mineral matter)

WV weight of volatile solids

SS specific gravity of solids

Sf specific gravity offi xed solids

Sv specific gravity of volatile solids

Table 1. Typical Data for the physical characteristics and quantities of sludge
produced from various wastewater treatment operations

Process/ Speci Speci Dry Solids Dry Solids

Treatment fic fic lb/103 gal kg/103 m3
Operation Gravit Gravit Range Typic Range Typic
y of y of al al
Solids Sludg
Primary 1.4 1.02 0.9-1.4 1.25 110-170 150
Activated Sludge 1.25 1.005 0.6-0.8 0.7 70-100 80
(waste biosolids)
Trickling Filter 1.45 1.025 0.5-0.8 0.6 60-100 70
(waste biosolids)
Extended Aeration 1.30 1.015 0.7-1.0 0.8* 80-120 100*
(waste biosolids)
Aerated Lagoon 1.30 1.01 0.7-1.0 0.8* 80-120 100*
(waste biosolids)
Filtration 1.20 1.005 0.1-0.2 0.15 12-24 20
Algae Removal 1.20 1.005 0.1-0.2 0.15 12-24 20
Chemical Addition to
primary tanks for
phosphorus removal
Low lime 1.9 1.04 2.0-3.3 2.5** 240-400 300**
High lime 2.2 1.05 5.0- 6.6** 600- 800**
(800-1600 11.0 1300
Suspended growth - - - - - -***
Suspended growth 1.20 1.005 0.1- 0.15 12-30 18
denitrification 0.25
Roughing Filters 1.28 1.02 - -**** - -****

Assumes no primary treatment
Solids in addition to that normally removed by primary sedimentation
Included in biosolids production from secondary treatment processes

Table 2. Expected solids concentrations from various treatment operations and


Operation Solids Concentration

(% dry solids)
Range Typical
Primary Settling Tank
Primary Sludge 5-9 6
Primary Sludge to a cyclone degritter 0.5-3 1.5
Primary Sludge and waste activated sludge 3-8 4
Primary Sludge and trickling-filter humus 4-10 5
Primary Sludge with iron salt addition for 0.5-3 2
phosphorus removal
Primary Sludge with low lime addition for 2-8 4
phosphorus removal
Primary Sludge with high lime addition for 4-16 10
phosphorus removal
Scum 3-10 5
Secondary Settling Tank
Waste Activated Sludge with primary settling 0.5-1.5 0.8
Waste Activated Sludge without primary 0.8-2.5 1.3
High- purity oxygen with primary settling 1.3-3 2
High- purity oxygen without primary settling 1.4-4 2.5
Trickling-filter humus 1-3 1.5
Rotating biological contactor waste sludge 1-3 1.5
Gravity Thickener
Primary Sludge 5-10 8
Primary Sludge and waste activated sludge 2-8 4
Primary Sludge and trickling-filter humus 4-9 5
Dissolved Air Flotation Thickener
Waste activated sludge with polymer addition 4-6 5
Waste activated sludge without polymer 3-5 4
Centrifuge Thickener (Waste Activated Sludge only) 4-8 5
Gravity-belt thickener (Waste Activated Sludge with 4-8 5
polymer addition)
Anaerobic digester
Primary Sludge 2-5 4
Primary Sludge and waste activated sludge 1.5-4 2.5
Primary Sludge and trickling-filter humus 2-4 3
Aerobic digester
Primary Sludge 2.5-7 3.5
Primary Sludge and waste activated sludge 1.5-4 2.5
Primary Sludge and trickling-filter humus 0.8-2.5 1.3

Sludge Volume
The volume of sludge may be computed with the following expression:


V sludge volume, m3
Ms mass of dry solids, kg

W specific weight of water, 103kg/ m3

Ssl specific gravity of sludge

Ps mass fraction of solids

Sv specific gravity of volatile solids

For approximate calculations for a given solids content, it is simple to

remember that the volume varies inversely with the percent of solid matter
contained in the sludge as given by.
V1 P2

V2 P1

V1 ,V2 sludge volumes

P1 ,P2 percent of solid matter

Sample Calculation

To determine the liquid volume before and after digestion; and

To determine the percent reduction of primary sludge with the following

Mass of primary sludge 500 kg (dry basis)

Primary Digested
Solids, % 5 10
Volatile matter, % 60 60
SG (Fixed solids) 2.5 2.5
SG (Volatile solids) 1.0 1.0

1. Average specific gravity of all solids in the primary sludge


SS Sf Sv

1 0.4 0.6

SS 2.5 1.0

Ss 1.32

2. Specific gravity of the primary sludge

Wsl Ws WH2O

Ssl Ss SH2O

1 0.05 0.95

SS 1.32 1.0

Ssl 1.01

3. Primary sludge volume


500 kg
1000 1.01 0.05

V Primary Sludge 9.9 m3

4. Volatile Matter percentage after digestion

total volatile solids after digestion

Volatile Matter,%= 100
total solids after digestion

1 0.6 0.6 500
1 0.60 500 1 0.6 0.6 500
Volatile Matter,%= 37.5% 0.375
5. Average specific gravity of all solids in the digested sludge

SS Sf Sv

1 0.625 0.375

SS 2.5 1.0

Ss 1.6

6. Specific gravity of the digested sludge

Wsl Ws WH2O

Ssl Ss SH2O

1 0.1 0.9

SS 1.6 1.0

Ssl 1.04

7. Digested Sludge volume

200 kg 0.4 300 kg

1000 1.04 0.10

V Digested Sludge 3.1 m3

8. Percent Reduction in Sludge Volume

9.9 3.1 m3
% reduction 100
9.9 m3

% reduction 68.7%