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GERMAN

DWA Rules and Standards

Advisory Leaflet DWA-M 381E Sewage Sludge Thickening

October 2007

Eindickung von Klärschlamm

German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V.

German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V.

DWA-M 381E

The German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) is intensively involved with the development of reliable and sustainable water management. Being a politically and economically independent organisation it operates specifically in the areas of water management, wastewater, waste and soil protection.

In Europe the DWA is the association in this field with the greatest number of members and, due to its specialist competence it holds a special position with regard to standardisation, professional training and information of the public. The members, approximately 14,000 represent specialists and managers from municipalities, universities, consulting engineers, authorities and businesses.

Imprint

Publisher and marketing:

Translation:

DWA German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste Theodor-Heuss-Allee 17 53773 Hennef, Germany

CLAUDIA MAYERL, Braunschweig

Printing (English version):

DWA

Tel.:

+49 2242 872-333 +49 2242 872-100 kundenzentrum@dwa.de www.dwa.de

ISBN:

Fax:

978-3-941897-43-4

E-Mail:

Internet:

Printed on 100 % recycled paper

© DWA Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V., Hennef 2010 German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste

All rights, in particular those of translation into other languages, are reserved. No part of this Advisory Leaflet may be reproduced in any form – by photocopy, digitalisation or any other process – or transferred into a language usable in machines, in particular data processing machines, without the written approval of the publisher.

DWA-M 381E

Foreword

Thickening of sewage sludge is one of the most important basic treatment steps of the entire sludge treatment process. For decades thickening of sewage sludge has been accomplished by using either gravity settling in thickeners or in a flotation unit or by mechanical thickening. Flotation and mechanical thickening processes are almost solely used for the thickening of waste activated sludge. In 1998 the former ATV Sub-Committee 3.2 "Stabilisation, Disinfection, Thicken- ing, Dewatering and Conditioning of Sewage Sludges" presented the working report "Thickening of Sewage Sludge" [8]. The various procedures and their efficiency and cost-effectiveness have been updated and are now presented in this Advisory Leaflet.

The DWA Sub-Committee AK-2 and its Working Group AK-2.4 have elaborated this Advisory Leaflet taking into consid- eration the current state of science and technology, relevant legislation, and essential operational requirements. Thus a guideline related to practice has been established.

This DWA Advisory Leaflet first and foremost addresses practicing professionals at wastewater treatment plants as well as planning and operating engineers and technicians.

Authors

This Advisory Leaflet has been elaborated by the DWA Working Group AK-2.4 "Thickening and Dewatering" on behalf of and with the assistance of the Sub-Committee AK-2 "Stabilisation, Disinfection, Conditioning, Thickening and Dewater- ing of Sewage Sludge".

Members of the Working Group AK-2.4:

BISCHOF, Fredy

Dr.-Ing., Essen

BLEI, Peter

Dipl.-Ing., Ludwigshafen

DENKERT, Ralf

Dr.-Ing., Bochum (Spokesperson)

WOLF, Siegfried

Dipl.-Ing., Ottobrunn

Members of the Sub-Committee AK-2:

BISCHOF, Fredy

Dr.-Ing., Essen

BLEI, Peter

Dipl.-Ing., Ludwigshafen

DENKERT, Ralf

Dr.-Ing., Bochum

EVERS, Peter

Dr.-Ing., Essen

GLASENAPP, Joachim

Dr.-Ing., Hamburg

KOPP, Julia

Dr.-Ing., Lengede

LOLL, Ulrich

Dr.-Ing., Darmstadt (Chairman)

MELSA, Armin

Prof. Dr.-Ing. E. h., Viersen (Vice chairman)

WOLF, Siegfried

Dipl.-Ing., Ottobrunn

Project organizer within the DWA Head Office:

REIFENSTUHL, Reinhard

Dipl.-Ing., Hennef Water Resources, Waste Management and Land Improvement

DWA-M 381E

Content

Foreword

3

Authors

3

Content

4

List of Figures

5

List of Tables

5

User Notes

6

1

Scope

6

2

Terms and Definitions

6

2.1

Definitions and Basic Information

6

2.1.1

Sewage Sludge

6

2.1.2

Sludge

6

2.1.3

Mixed Primary Sludge

7

2.1.4

Raw Sludge

7

2.1.5

Thickened Sludge

7

2.1.6

Sludge Liquor

7

2.1.7

Sludge Conditioning

7

2.1.8

Flocculants (Polymers)

7

2.1.9

Solids Content

7

2.1.10

Degree of Separation

7

2.1.11

Water Content

8

2.1.11

Water Binding Capacity

8

2.1.13

Sewage Sludge Parameters

9

2.2

Abbreviations and Symbols

9

3

Application Area for Thickening

10

3.1

Statistical Evaluation of Thickening Processes

11

3.2

Change in Rheological Sludge Characteristics

11

4

Thickening Processes

13

4.1

Gravity Thickening

13

4.1.1

Gravity Thickening – Batch Operation

13

4.1.2

Gravity Thickening – Continuous Operation

14

4.1.2.1

Measurement of the Sludge Interface

17

4.1.3

Thickening Using Flotation Processes

17

4.2

Mechanical Thickening Using Natural Gravity

20

4.2.1

Basic Principles, Designs

20

4.2.2

Construction, Control Options

20

4.2.2.1

Rotary Drum Screens Thickeners

21

4.2.2.2

Rotary Screw Thickeners

22

4.2.2.3

Belt Thickeners

22

4.2.2.4

Disk Thickeners

23

4.2.2.5

Thickening Pumps

24

4.3

Mechanical Thickening Using Artificial Gravity

25

4.3.1

Centrifuges – Construction and Control Options

25

4.3.2

Further Developments in Machine Technology

27

DWA-M 381E

5

Performance Data of Various Thickening Processes

27

5.1

Application Ranges

27

5.2

Thickening Results and their Dependencies

27

5.3

Experiences and Recommendations

28

5.4

Future Developments

29

6

Effects of Various Thickening Processes on Other Treatment Steps

30

6.1

Effects on Downstream Treatment Steps

30

6.1.1

Direct Effects

30

6.1.2

Indirect Effects

30

6.2

Effects on Upstream Treatment Steps

31

6.3

Application of Polymeric Flocculants for Sludge Thickening

32

6.4

Sludge Liquor Treatment

32

7

Costs for Waste Activated Sludge Thickening

32

8

Summary

34

Literature

35

List of Figures

Figure 1:

Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to the number of wastewater treatment plants

11

Figure 2:

Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to population equivalents (PE)

12

Figure 3:

Influence of solids content and temperature on the viscosity (apparent viscosity) of primary

and waste activated sludge

12

Figure 4:

Batch operated gravity thickener (example)

14

Figure 5:

Continuous-flow gravity thickener (example)

15

Figure 6:

Settling zones of the thickening process

16

Figure 7:

Mathematically released air quantity in dependency on temperature and differential pressure

18

Figure 8:

Schematic diagram of a dissolved air flotation system in a rectangular tank, recycle stream process

19

Figure 9:

Schematic diagram of a rotary drum screen

20

Figure 10: Schematic drawing of a rotary screw thickener

22

Figure 11: Schematic drawing of a belt thickener

23

Figure 12: Schematic drawing of a disk thickener

24

Figure 13: Schematic drawing of a thickening pump

25

Figure 14: Schematic drawing of a counter-current thickening centrifuge

26

Figure 15:

Specific annual (net) costs of waste activated sludge thickening

33

List of Tables

Table 1:

Dimensioning parameters for continuous-flow gravity thickeners

16

Table 2:

Operating and dimensioning data for existing dissolved air flotation systems

19

Table 3:

Manufactured sizes of rotary drum screens

21

Table 4:

Manufactured sizes of rotary screw thickeners

21

Table 5:

Manufactured sizes of belt thickeners

23

Table 6:

Manufactured sizes of disk thickeners

24

Table 7:

Manufactured sizes of thickening pumps

24

Table 8:

Manufactured size of thickening centrifuges

26

Table 9:

Total solids content in the discharge [% TS], spec. flocculant demand and spec. energy

demand of various thickening processes

28

Table 10:

Cost factors for comparing economic efficiency

33

DWA-M 381E

User Notes

This Advisory Leaflet has been produced by a group of technical, scientific and economic experts, working in an honor- ary capacity and applying the rules and procedures of the DWA and the Standard ATV-DVWK-A 400. Based on judicial precedent, there exists an actual presumption that this document is textually and technically correct.

Any party is free to make use of this Advisory Leaflet. However, the application of its contents may also be made an obligation under the terms of legal or administrative regulations, or of a contract, or for some other legal reason.

This Advisory Leaflet is an important, but not the sole, source of information for solutions to technical problems. Applying information given here does not relieve the user of responsibility for his own actions or for correctly apply- ing this information in specific cases. This holds true in particular when it comes to respecting the margins laid down in this Advisory Leaflet.

1

Scope

Thickening of sewage sludge is one of the most impor- tant basic operations of sludge treatment. It is the easi- est and cheapest way to concentrate solids and to sepa- rate solids and liquids during sludge treatment. Sludge thickening is used at virtually every wastewater treat- ment plant.

A growing interest in process optimization of sludge

thickening, and management and treatment of resulting process waters, can be observed. This growing interest is last but not least due to cost pressure faced by treatment plant operators.

This Advisory Leaflet presents recommendations for dimensioning, installation and cost-efficient operation of treatment units for municipal sludge thickening and addresses operators of wastewater treatment plants as well as consulting engineers. It summarizes current knowledge on principles and technologies of various thickening procedures and considers operational experi- ences as well as costs of technically well-established treatment processes.

The main focus is on sludge thickening procedures which are commonly used at municipal wastewater treatment plants. Information and recommendations of this Advisory Leaflet, however, to a large extent can be used accordingly for the treatment of other sludges, e.g. sludges produced during drinking water treatment (see

[20]) or during industrial wastewater treatment. Then it

is above all the responsibility of the user to verify trans-

ferability of given recommendations in regard to special characteristics of each individual sludge and in regard to impacts on dimensioning and operation of the plant.

2 Terms and Definitions

This Advisory Leaflet refers to the definition of terms of DIN 4045 (August 2003), DIN EN 1085 (May 2007), DIN EN 12832 (November 1999) as well as DIN EN 12255-8 (October 2001). The following especially rele- vant terms are explained separately in addition to the above-mentioned DIN standards.

Author´s Note: In addition, in the English translation defined terms according to the “Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater” (16th Edi- tion, American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federa- tion, Washington DC, 1985)” have been used.

2.1

Definitions and Basic Information

2.1.1

Sewage Sludge

Sludge produced during wastewater (sewage) treatment (DIN EN 12832 [3]).

Note: Sewage sludges mainly consist of a solid and a liquid fraction and are thus suspensions.

2.1.2 Sludge

Mixture of water and solids separated from various types of water as a result of natural or artificial processes (DIN EN 1085 [2], DIN 4045 [1], DIN EN 12880 [5]).

Note: The objective of thickening is the accumulation of the solid fraction (volume reduction by water removal) in the sludge. In technical terminology the solid fraction of sludge is generally called solids, suspended solids, total solids or solids content.

DWA-M 381E

2.1.3 Mixed Primary Sludge

Sludge removed from primary treatment which con- tains other sludges, e.g. waste activated sludge (DIN EN 1085 [2]).

2.1.4 Raw Sludge

Non-stabilised sludge (DIN EN 1085 [2])

2.1.5 Thickened Sludge

Sludge which has been treated using a thickening process

2.1.6 Sludge Liquor

Liquor separated from sludge (DIN EN 1085 [2]).

Note: Depending on the treatment process used, sludge liquor is also called e.g. supernatant liquor (thickener), centrate (centrifuge) or filtrate (filtering processes).

2.1.7 Sludge Conditioning

Physical, chemical, thermal or other sludge treatment processes for improving thickening behaviour and de- waterability (DIN EN 1085 [2])

2.1.8 Flocculants (Polymers)

The term polymer is used as a synonym for synthetic organic flocculants (also called flocculation agents FA) in this Advisory Leaflet. Information on the selection and application of organic flocculants is given in [11].

2.1.9 Solids Content

For determination of the solids content, the total solids concentration (% TS) and the concentration of total suspended solids (gTSS/l) are analysed according to DIN EN 12880 [5].

For "thin" liquid sludges (e.g. activated sludge or waste activated sludge from the aeration tank) the concentra- tion of total suspended solids (gTSS/l) is to be analysed from the filtered sample (paper filter–black ribbon filter with approx. 20 µm pore size). The same analysis is normally used for supernatant liquor from a gravity thickener as well as for centrate or filtrate from me- chanical thickeners. In special cases, the supernatant liquor/filtrate/centrate can be filtered using a filter with 0,45 µm pore size. However, the results of the TSS analysis of sludge and wastewater with different pore sizes of the filters cannot be compared. The solids con- tent of a pre-thickened sludge (e.g. primary sludge from the primary sedimentation tank or digested sludge from

the digester) or of the sludge discharged from a gravity thickener or a mechanical thickener is analysed as total solids concentration (% TS) of the unfiltered total sam- ple according to DIN EN 12880 [5].

At wastewater treatment plants with a strong industrial influence, a possibly high concentration of dissolved salts (e.g. chloride) shall be taken into consideration. The weight-related analysis of total solids determined from the unfiltered sample also contains salts, while the analysis of the concentration of total suspended solids does not contain salts due to prior filtration of the wastewater. In extreme situations, the salt content may cause differences in concentration of 2 gTSS/l to 3 gTSS/l when analysing total suspended solids and total solids. These differences shall be taken into consid- eration when calculating solids-related specific floccu- lant demand and the degree of separation. They also shall be considered when analysing organic solids con- tent and when determining the corresponding solids- related total volatile solids. Furthermore, a high salt concentration may significantly affect the activity of the flocculants used for sludge conditioning. Thus, floccula- tion agent demand may rise considerably. In wastewater treatment technology, salt concentration can be esti- mated using the parameter electrical conductivity.

In order to prevent disagreements, analytical methods and evaluations shall be defined in detail for operational tests or for the invitation of tenders.

2.1.10 Degree of Separation

Ratio of mass separated in a separation process to the introduced mass of a substance (DIN EN 1085 [2]).

For simplification, the solids-related degree of separa- tion of a gravity thickener or a mechanical thickening device is calculated by converting the total solids con- tent in % TS to gTSS/l by multiplication with a factor of 10 (1 % TS = 10 gTSS/l) without regarding the differ- ences in density.

Calculation of the solids-related degree of separation:

η

=

(TSS In TSS Ce ) · TSS Dis

· 100 [%]

(TSS Dis TSS Ce ) · TSS In

(1)

η [%]

TSS

TSS

In

Ce

TSS Dis

[gTSS/l]

[gTSS/l]

[gTSS/l]

Solids-related degree of separation

Influent total suspended solids

Centrate/filtrate total suspended solids

Solids content of sludge discharge

DWA-M 381E

2.1.11 Water Content

Before thickening, the water content of sewage sludges varies between approx. 96 % and 99,5 % depending on their origin. The reason for the high water content of sewage sludges and the correspondingly required tech- nical effort for sludge thickening is the high water bind- ing capacity of sewage sludges. The various types of water in sewage sludge are distinguished by type and intensity of their physical bonding to the solids.

Five different types of water can be distinguished in a sludge suspension according to their physical bonding to the solids:

Free water, not bound to particles

Interstitial water, bound by capillary forces between the particles of a sludge floc

Surface water, bound by adhesive forces

Intracellular water, including cell water and internal capillary water

Chemically bound water also called water of crystal- lisation (hydration water), bound by ionic bonds

The free water content represents the largest part of water in a sludge suspension. Free water moves freely between the sludge particles, is not adsorbed by them, not bound to them and is not affected by capillary forces. This type of water can be separated by gravity or mechanically by e.g. centrifugal forces or filtration. All other types of water in general can only be separated using thermal treatment processes. Advanced treatment methods such as conditioning or altering of the sludge structure (e.g. disintegration, chemical acid/base treat- ment, hydrolysis processes) can change or shift the distri- bution of the types of water.

2.1.12 Water Binding Capacity

According to recent investigations and studies, it must be assumed that a significant amount of water in sewage sludge is bound in the form of gels (so-called hydrogels) [25]. Gel-forming substances can be found in aerobically as well as anaerobically produced sludges. Especially carbohydrates and proteins are among these gel-forming substances. These substances can be introduced into the sludge either with the inflowing wastewater or can be produced by wastewater bacteria (EPS). The existence of these substances and their special characteristics in regard to water binding capacity and their consequences for thickening and dewatering have been demonstrated in [31]. In their water-soluble form, polysaccharides and proteins have hydrogel structures, which may alter their water binding behaviour under the following influences:

pH-value, temperature, salt content. A precise clarification of this type of water binding force and its influence on the thickening behaviour and dewaterability of sewage sludge is left to be accomplished in future research work.

The high water content leads to large sludge volumes, which cause difficulties and technical problems in the various processes of sludge treatment and increases constructional, mechanical, and operational expenses significantly.

The respective quantity of water types and especially the intramolecular attraction (electrostatic and van der Waals forces) strongly depend on the following factors:

Particle size distribution, since very small particles have a large specific surface area and thus strong binding forces

Organic constituents, which have a very large specific surface area

Colloidal and gel-like constituents, which especially are present in organic waste activated sludges and in hydroxide sludges as well as in sludges from phos- phate precipitation

Percentage of filamentous microorganisms (e. g. Mi- crothrix parvicella) because of their hydrophobic (wa- ter-repellent) characteristics

Percentage of EPS (extracellular polymeric substances, largely long-chain polysaccharide (carbohydrate) and protein compounds) because of their slimy/viscous characteristics

During biological wastewater treatment und during sludge stabilization above all the fraction of colloidal and gel-like constituents – with the exception of EPS – is reduced by degradation of organic substances.

According to their characteristics – especially in regard to their water binding capacity – sludges are generally classified into three groups:

1. Easily thickenable/dewaterable sludges Sludges with larger fractions of mineral substances (also from combined sewer systems) such as e.g. fine sands.

2. Averagely thickenable/dewaterable sludges Typical primary sludges or digested sludges without noteworthy industrial fractions or gel-like sub- stances.

3. Hardly thickenable/dewaterable sludges Activated sludge from the biological treatment step, trickling filter sludge, hydroxide sludges from elec- troplating plants or pickling plants, phosphate pre- cipitation sludges with a β-value (mol precipi- tant/mol phosphorus) significantly above 1,5.

DWA-M 381E

2.1.13 Sewage Sludge Parameters

Sewage sludge parameters are used to describe the thickening and dewatering behaviour of sewage sludge. Numerous parameters can be found in literature and are published in the ATV working report "Entwässerungs- kennwerte" (Dewatering Parameters) [9]. In the last years, progress has been made in regard to practical development and description of sludge parameters [27]. The results of this work are summarized and evaluated by the DWA working group AK/AG 1.4 "Klärschlamm- kennwerte(Sewage Sludge Parameters) (founded in 2003) and will be published in the new DWA Advisory Leaflet M 383. It is recommended to define and use capacity-related sludge parameters in tenders or for performance certificates of machinery.

2.2 Abbreviations and Symbols

 

Abbreviations

Unit

Explanation

English

German

   
     

Polymeric active substance

AS

WS

-

for calculating flocculant demand

A

thickener

A

E

Surface area of the thickener

CFR

k

-

Capital recovery factor

D

D

m

Diameter

D

air

D

L

µm

Mean size of air bubbles

D

FT

D

FB

m

Flotation tank diameter

DS

FS

-

Digested sludge

   

mS/cm

 

EC

LF

or S/m

Electrical conductivity

EPS-

EPS-

 

Exopolymeric substances or extracellular polymeric substance (proteins, polysaccharide)

content

Gehalt

mg/kg

     

Flocculant/flocculation

FA

FHM

-

agent

     

Total height of the

H

H

m

continuous flow thickener (H= H W + H S + H R )

h

FT

h

FB

m

Flotation tank depth

H

R

H

R

m

Depth of the raking zone,

height of the scraper blade

 

Abbreviations

Unit

Explanation

English

German

   

H

S

H

S

m

Depth of the sludge zone

H

W

H

W

m

Depth of the supernatant

(clear water) zone

I

 

E

-

Inhabitant/per capita

L

 

F

-

Load

L

FT

L

FB

m

Flotation tank length

PE

EW

I

Population equivalent

pH

pH

-

pH-value

PAM

PAA

-

Polyacrylamide

PS

PS

-

Primary sludge

PT

 

-

Precipitant

   

m³/

 

q

A

q

A

(m²·h)

Surface loading rate

Q

air

 

L

l/m³

Air quantity

Q

air/TSS

L

TS

l/m³

Specific air feed

Q

S

Q

S

m³/h

Sludge quantity

SLR

TS

A

kgTSS/

Solids loading rate

(B

A )

(m²·d)

   

ml/g

Sludge volume index

SVI

ISV

or l/kg

T

 

T

°C

Temperature

t

d

t

A

d

detention time

     

Total solids

TS

TR

%

(content/concentration) (g TS/kg sludge sample)

TSS 0,45

AFS

kg/m³

Total suspended solids (filtered with filter paper 0,45 µm)

     

Total suspended solids

TSS

TS

kg/m³

g/l

(filtered with filter paper approx. 20 µm)

TSS In

TS Zu

gTSS/l

Influent total suspended solids

TSS Ce

TS Ze

gTSS/l

Centrate/filtrate total suspended solids

DWA-M 381E

Abbreviations

Unit

Explanation

English

German

   

TSS Dis

TS Aus

gTSS/l

Solids content of sludge discharge

TVS

   

Total volatile solids (loss on ignition) TVS from TS VVS from TSS

VSS

GV

%

WAS

ÜS

-

Waste activated sludge

     

Wastewater treatment

WWTP

ABA

-

plant

η*

η*

mPa·s

Apparent viscosity

     

Solids-related degree of

η

η

%

separation

-

Difference

     

Spec. phosphate

-value

-Wert

-

precipitant demand mol metal/mol P

Note: A comma is used as a decimal sign

Author´s Note: The list of abbreviations and symbols in the English translation has been broadened in compari- son to the German version.

3 Application Area for Thickening

Sewage sludge produced during wastewater treatment

in general contains a lot of water and little solids' quan-

tities. Therefore a solids concentration accompanied by a

volume reduction is advantageous for all following operations of sludge treatment. Without extensive thickening, no down-stream treatment process can be

operated economically.

The primary objective of sludge thickening is the reduc-

tion of the volume of the produced sewage sludge. As secondary objective, this volume reduction has positive

effects on the following treatment steps since treatment

processes are stabilised. Volume reduction enables opti- misation of construction and operating costs. If a gravity thickener is in operation, the sedimentation tank should not be used as a storage or equalising tank for sewage

sludge, since this may have a strong negative impact on the thickening result.

The main application of volume reduction is the thicken- ing of primary and secondary sludges prior to sludge

stabilisation. Gravity thickening of stabilised sludge, e.g.

digested sludge, is also used at wastewater treatment plants. This application of gravity thickening is not the main focus of this Advisory Leaflet however it is men- tioned at various points. If mixed primary sludge thick- ening is used, the combined thickening of primary and waste activated sludge in the primary sedimentation tank or in a gravity thickener often leads to solids con- centrations which are insufficient for an optimal opera- tion of down-stream treatment steps. Furthermore, in activated sludge systems with biological phosphorus removal, the return flow of the waste activated sludge to the primary sedimentation tank or to a thickener leads

to a significant redissolution of phosphorus. Also, a

hydrolysis of nitrogen and carbon compounds may occur

as well as the formation of hydrogen sulphide. These

factors can lead to a mass development of filamentous bacteria in the activated sludge tank. Therefore, on account of the different thickening behaviour and for the prevention of operational problems, nowadays separate

gravity thickening of primary sludge in the primary sedimentation tank or in a thickener is used, while thickening of waste activated sludge is accomplished in

a separate mechanical thickening step. Mechanical

thickening processes can also be used for the thickening

of mixed primary sludge. The solids content in the thick-

ened sludge should be increased insofar that the degra- dation process in the following stabilisation step is not hampered and conveyance, agitation and heating are

not interfered with.

DWA-M 381E

3.1 Statistical Evaluation of Thickening Processes

The DWA collected data on sewage sludge in Germany for the year 2003 [18], [24]. According to the last ascertain- ment of the Federal Statistical Office in 2001, 10 188 municipal wastewater treatment plants exist in Germany. About 6 600 treatment plants received questionnaires, of which 3 100, i.e. approx. 47 %, were returned and evalu- ated. Thus about one third of all German wastewater treatment plants was included in the survey. The data collection covered approx. 99 million PE of 157 million PE treatment capacity (all information on PE numbers relates to treatment plant capacity according to discharge per- mits). This equals about two thirds of all population equivalents. Looking at these ratio numbers, it must be assumed that a high number of large treatment plants participated in the survey. The individual questions were evaluated generally using the number of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) as well as population equiva- lents (PE). A comparison of the evaluation in regard to number of treatment plants and to capacity made it possi- ble to make statements on the preferred use of certain treatment processes and machines.

In regard to thickening, the data collection only covers pre-thickening of waste activated sludge. The results of the survey related to the number of treatment plants are presented in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows results in relation to treatment plant capacities (PE).

According to the survey 926 of 2 843 treatment plants – i.e. 32,6 % – employ no thickening procedure, 44,1 % use gravity thickening and approx. 20 % use mechanical thick- eners (centrifuge, rotary drum screen thickener, belt thick- eners).

In regard to the application of polymers for sludge condi- tioning, it can be observed that according to the survey polymers are used at 40 % of the treatment plants or for 59 % of the treatment capacity (liquid and solid products).

3.2 Change in Rheological Sludge Characteristics

Rheological characteristics (flow characteristics) of sew- age sludges are altered by thickening processes. Rheological characteristics are described by the measur- ing parameter apparent viscosity. Raw sludges and di- gested sludges are classified as non-Newtonian fluids, since their viscosity changes in dependency on forces exerted on the fluid. When evaluating flow behaviour, one has to distinguish the various types of sludge such as primary and secondary sludge, mixed primary and stabilised sludge.

Viscosity experiments with activated sludges with solids content between 2 gTSS/l and 8 gTSS/l showed no significant deviation from pure water. Equally, no sig- nificant effects on the flow behaviour could be detected for conventional gravity thickening of mixed primary sludge up to a total solids concentration of 2 % to 4 % TS [21].

Things are different for mechanical thickening of waste activated sludge, especially if centrifuges without the addition of flocculants are used. Then apparent viscosity increases significantly [22]. Apparent viscosities for sepa- rate gravity thickening of primary sludge and mechanical thickening of waste activated sludge using centrifuges is shown in Figure 3 in dependency on solids content and temperature [21].

statisch + gravity + gravity + maschinell mechanical mechanical statisch gravity gravity 2,6 % 44,1
statisch +
gravity +
gravity +
maschinell
mechanical
mechanical
statisch
gravity
gravity
2,6 %
44,1 %
Zentrifuge
centrifuge
centrifuge
4,7 %
rotary drum
screen drum thickener thickener
Siebtrommel
9,6 %
Bandeindicker
belt thickener
belt thickener
5,1 %
flotation
Flotation
flotation
none none
keine
Sonstige
other
other
0,3 %
32,6 %
0,9 %

Figure 1:

Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to the number of wastewater treat- ment plants (WWTP); data basis: 2 843 WWTP [24]

DWA-M 381E

keine keine none none 12 12 % Sonstige Sonstige other other gravity statisch statisch gravity
keine keine
none none
12 12 %
Sonstige
Sonstige
other
other
gravity
statisch
statisch
gravity
1 1 % %
33
33 %
flotation
flotation
Flotation
Flotation
5 5 %
belt thickener
belt thickener
Bandeindicker
Bandeindicker
9 9 %
statisch +
statisch +
gravity +
gravity +
maschinell
maschinell
mechanical
mechanical
rotary drum
8 8 %
drum thickener
screen thickener
Siebtrommel
Siebtrommel
Zentrifuge
Zentrifuge
centrifuge
centrifuge
15 15 %

Figure 2:

17 17 %

Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to population equivalents (PE) Data basis: 97 million PE [24]

1500 1500 Überschußschlamm, T = 10 °C Überschußschlamm, T = 10 °C Überschussschlamm, T =
1500
1500
Überschußschlamm, T = 10 °C
Überschußschlamm, T = 10 °C
Überschussschlamm, T = 10 °C
Überschussschlamm, T = 10 °C
waste activated sludge, T = 10°C
waste activated sludge, T = 10°C
=
10 °C
1250
1250
Überschußschlamm, T = 20 °C
Überschußschlamm, T = 20 °C
Überschussschlamm, T = 20 °C
Überschussschlamm, T = 20 °C
waste activated sludge, T = 20°C
waste activated sludge, T = 20°C
=
20 °C
Überschußschlamm, T = 35 °C
Überschußschlamm, T = 35 °C
Überschussschlamm, T = 35 °C
Überschussschlamm, T = 35 °C
waste activated sludge, T = 35°C
waste activated sludge, T = 35°C
=
30 °C
1000
1000
Primärschlamm, T = 10 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 10 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 10 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 10 °C
primary sludge, T = 10°C
primary sludge, T = 10°C
=
40 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 20 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 20 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 20 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 20 °C
primary sludge, T = 20°C
primary sludge, T = 20°C
=
20 °C
750
750
Primärschlamm, T = 35 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 35 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 35 °C
Primärschlamm, T = 35 °C
primary sludge, T = 35°C
primary sludge, T = 35°C
=
35 °C
500
500
waste activated sludge
waste activated sludge
Überschussschlamm
Überschussschlamm
(Eindickung mit Zentrifuge)
(Eindickung mit Zentrifuge)
(thickening with centrifuge)
(thickening with centrifuge)
250
250
Primärschlamm
Primärschlamm
primary sludge
primary sludge
0 0
0,0
0,0
0,0
0.0
0.0
1,5
1,5
1,5
1.5
1.5
3,0
3.0
3.0
3,0
3,0
4.5
4.5
4,5
4,5
4,5
6,0
6,0
6,0
6.0
6.0
7,5
7,5
7,5
7.5
7.5
TS [%]
TS [%]
TR [ % ]
TR [ % ]
scheinbare Viskosität
scheinbare Viskosität
* [mPas]η
* [mPas]η
[mPa ·s]
[mPa ·s]
apparent viscosity η* mPa·s
apparent viscosity η* mPa·s
(Schergefälle D = 128 1/s)
(Schergefälle D = 128 1/s)
[mPa·s]
(shear rate: D = 128 1/s)
(shear rate: D = 128 1/s)

Figure 3:

Influence of solids content and temperature on the viscosity (apparent viscosity) of primary and waste activated sludge [21]

Apparent viscosity is influenced by the percentage and the diameter of the smallest solid particles. Especially high-speed machinery (e. g. centrifugal pumps, centri- fuges, macerators, disintegration devices) can increase the fraction of very fine particles in the sludge. In addi- tion, [28] proves that apparent viscosity is also influ- enced significantly by the fraction of extracellular poly- meric substances (EPS). However, no significant dependency between rheological characteristics and organic solids content (TVS, loss on ignition) and parti- cle size distribution could be detected [28].

In order to prevent operational problems, viscosity shall be taken into consideration for friction loss in pipes, selection of pumps for the conveyance of thickened sludge and for the design of agitation devices in sludge stabilisation plants.

DWA-M 381E

4 Thickening Processes

4.1 Gravity Thickening

Operating costs for gravity thickening are comparably low. Due to natural gravity, those solids with a density higher than water will settle and will be consolidated and com- pacted. During gravity thickening – operated as a batch process or a continuous-flow process – two separate phases are produced in the thickener, a phase rich in solids (thickened sludge) and a phase with little solids (sludge

liquor/supernatant liquor). It must be noted that the solids concentration in the thickened sludge phase is not consis- tent over the whole depth of the phase. The highest solids concentration will occur in the lowest sludge layer at the bottom of the thickener. As an average value, 50 % to 75

% of the maximum value can be assumed.

A certain amount of thickening is already achieved in

the sludge collecting hoppers of the primary and secon- dary settling tanks. This fact, however, is not considered

in this Advisory Leaflet since the sludge collecting hop-

pers are normally not dimensioned for sludge thickening but for sludge storage.

Gravity thickeners are normally constructed from rein- forced concrete or steel. Machinery equipment consists of sludge pumps, scrapers and supernatant removal devices. Measuring and control technology is limited to the measuring of the sludge content in the thickener and the height of the sludge interface. Sludge feeding can be accomplished by lateral or central inlets. For reducing inflow velocity and for even distribution of the influent, baffles, feed wells or other inflow systems can be in- stalled. The supernatant liquor is removed either using fixed overflow sills or adjustable outlets. Outlets are normally installed on the tank edges. In order to prevent uncontrolled discharge of floating scum to the effluent, normally scum boards are used. Fixed outlet systems are among others circular overflow weirs or overflow troughs. The supernatant flows over them into an efflu- ent channel or an effluent pipe.

Gravity thickening is a relatively simple process in re- gard to process technology and an operation on the threshold between wastewater and sludge treatment. Treatment results however are not always consistent and not always reproducible. Generally this is due to the fact that dimensioning of flow-through thickeners is done according to relatively imprecise empirical values (sur- face loading rate) and that the thickening process is interfered by incipient digestion processes or convective heat flow.

Using computational fluid dynamics [30] thickeners can be dimensioned considerably more precise if necessary. Adequate computer programmes are available for this. However necessary time and effort are considerable, since among other things grid spacing shall be adapted for each construction and adequate models shall be selected for each individual case. The ratio of benefit and costs shall be analysed carefully for each individual case.

4.1.1 Gravity Thickening – Batch Operation

Batch-operated gravity thickening is a simple discontinu- ous process for thickening. Tanks of adequate size and construction are filled with the sludge removed from the wastewater treatment plant. Then the actual thickening process starts where solids accumulate in the lower part of the thickener on account of sedimentation and consoli- dation. As a matter of principle, total solids concentration increases with depth. After the thickening process is com- pleted, first supernatant is removed and then the thick- ened sludge. There are applications where the removal sequence is reversed (see below). Figure 4 shows an ex- ample for a batch-operated gravity thickener.

The volume of a batch-operated gravity thickener equals sludge production of one day plus a safety margin. Thick- eners which are not equipped with scrapers generally are emptied sufficiently at a floor slope above 60 degrees.

Equipment for the removal of supernatant liquor shall be constructed in such a way that only relatively small solids concentrations are discharged with the super- natant. This can be achieved by using telescopic tubes, floating intake systems or cascade withdrawal systems.

Using turbidity measurements in the supernatant effluent, supernatant removal can be automatised. Often, however, direct observation of the operating personnel is sufficient. Since higher solids concentrations accumulate in the cone end of the thickener, homogenization of the thickened sludge using a mixer or a pump can be useful.

DWA-M 381E

influent influent distribution distribution trough trough floating floating supernatant supernatant influent influent
influent influent
distribution distribution trough trough
floating floating supernatant supernatant
influent influent
intake extraction system
distribution distribution pipe pipe
supernatant supernatant
discharge discharge pipe pipe
sludge sludge feed feed
level level measuring measuring
sludge sludge
discharge discharge
flushing flushing connection connection
turbidity turbidity measuring measuring
device device

Figure 4:

Batch operated gravity thickener (example)

If turbidity measuring devices are used to determine solids concentration, discharge of thickened solids can also be accomplished before supernatant is removed. Then homogenization of the thickened sludge is not possible and if discharge velocities are too high, the risk of the formation of a cone of depression exists.

Generally batch-operated gravity thickeners are dimen- sioned according to the following parameters:

Daily sludge quantity

Number of thickeners results from the operating cycle, an optimal configuration allows for daily change between filling – thickening – processing.

4.1.2 Gravity Thickening – Continuous Operation

The process step of gravity thickening can also be oper- ated as a continuous-flow process with continuous sludge feed, supernatant removal, and thickened sludge discharge. Then the point for thickened sludge removal shall always be located at the point of highest solids concentration – the cone end. This is an advantage in comparison to batch-operated thickeners, where the thickening concentration at maximum can equal mean solids concentration of the sludge zone.

Unavoidable scum formation shall be counteracted by adequate scum removal or flushing equipment or the installation of scum boards should be dispensed with. Scum shall be returned to an appropriate point in the treatment system e.g. before the bar rack.

Continuous-flow gravity thickeners are equipped with a scraper with vertical pickets as well as installa- tions/devices for sludge feed and discharge and for supernatant removal (Figure 5).

DWA-M 381E

drive unit Räumerantrieb Räumerantrieb drive unit supernatant removal supernatant removal Kontrollsteg
drive unit
Räumerantrieb
Räumerantrieb
drive unit
supernatant removal
supernatant removal
Kontrollsteg
Kontrollsteg
Schlammwasserüberlauf
Schlammwasserüberlauf
walkway
walkway
Einlaufzylinder
Einlaufzylinder
feed well
feed well
Zulauf
Zulauf
Schlammräumer
Schlammräumer
scraper scraper with with
mit Eindickstäben
mit Eindickstäben
vertical vertical pickets pickets
Dickschlammentnahme
Dickschlammentnahme
thickened sludge removal
thickened sludge removal

influent influent

Figure 5:

Continuous-flow gravity thickener (example)

Continuous-flow gravity thickeners with mechanical sludge removal equipment have sloped floors, similar to round primary sedimentation tanks, with a slope of possible more than 1,7 in 1 (according to DIN 19552 [6]) and a central sludge hopper. For the thickening of waste activated sludge mostly travelling bridge collec- tors with an external drive and submersible scraper blades, mounted on pulleys are used. For a flexible ap- plication, also for sludges with high thickening ability, scrapers with a central drive unit are to be preferred, which are attached to a fixed concrete or steel bridge spanning the tank. For construction details DIN 19552 [6] is referred to.

In general, continuous-flow gravity thickeners are fed with sewage sludge using a centre feed well. Sludge should be distributed as evenly as possible and should be fed to the upper supernatant zone. The solids parti- cles settle in the tank while the supernatant rises and is discharged – behind protruding scum boards if existent – to the circumferential effluent channel at the tank edge.

At increasing depth of the thickener, a continuous transi- tion takes place from the supernatant zone to the sludge zone where hindered settling of the solids occurs (see Figure 6). Higher solids concentrations are achieved at increasing depth until the compression pressure equals pore water pressure.

The picket fence, which normally is equipped with vertical pickets spaced in a distance of 30 to 50 cm and moves with the scraper blade, can open up channels for pore water to escape and can thus improve the settling process.

A time-break-control switch should be used to prevent

that the entire sludge mass in the thickener is moved.

In the sludge zone, which can be separated into the sedimentation and the compression zone, the raking zone is found directly above the floor of the thickener. Here the thickened sludge is moved by the scraper blade

to the sludge hopper located directly under the centre

feed well. From there the sludge is withdrawn for fur-

ther treatment.

DWA-M 381E

Thickening by Thickening by Concentration Concentration Eindickung - Pressure curves Pressure curves Druckkurven
Thickening by
Thickening by
Concentration Concentration
Eindickung
-
Pressure curves
Pressure curves
Druckkurven
increase increase
zunahme
discrete settling
discrete settling
freies Absetzen
hindered hindered settling settling
hydrost. overpressure
hydrost. overpressure
Hydrost. Überdruck
Zunehmende
increased
due due durch to to dissolved dissolved gelöste Stoffe substances substances
increased
compression compression
Abbau der
due to decreased
due to decreased
durch gelöste und
due to dissolved and
due to dissolved and
Suspension
suspension
suspension
suspendierte Stoffe
suspended substances
suspended substances
mechanical pressure
Mechanischer Druck
mechanical pressure
weight weight of of dissolved dissolved and and
solid substances under water
solid substances under water
Stoffe unter Wasser
complete mechanical
complete mechanical
volle mechanische
pressure transfer
pressure transfer
Druckübertragung
% TS
mbar
% TR
% TR

Figure 6:

Settling zones of the thickening process [13]

Table 1:

Dimensioning parameters for continuous-flow gravity thickeners

Settling characteristics of the sludge

Type of sludge

Solids loading rate SLR [kg TSS/(m²·d)]

hardly settleable

waste activated sludge

20

– 50

averagely settleable

mixed primary sludge, digested sludge

40

– 80

easily settleable

primary sludge, mineral sludges, non-digestible sludges

up to 100

Blade angle, height, and arrangement of scraper blades as well as scraping velocity affect achievable solids con- tent of the thickened sludge. In order to prevent solids from sticking to the sides of the sludge hopper, the scraper can be equipped with an additional scraper blade for the sludge hopper.

If sludge characteristics are given, achievable solids content depends on the following factors:

The retention time in the sludge zone, which deter- mines sedimentation and compression time. The pressure ratio in the sludge zone, which largely de- pends on the density of the sludge particles and on the height/depth of the sludge zone.

The use of additives/aids such as lime/iron products or polymeric flocculation agents, whose effect on downstream treatment steps e.g. dewatering shall be taken into consideration.

If thickeners are very deep, very high total solids con- tents can be achieved. However other sludge characteris- tics (incipient digestion, gas emission etc.) limit this statement for digestible sludges. Table 1 shows typical dimensioning parameters for continuous-flow gravity thickeners.

When dimensioning continuous-flow gravity thickeners, the required surface A thickener [m²] is calculated by the added sludge quantity Q S [m³/h], the influent solids content TSS IN [kgTSS/m³] and the solids loading rate SLR [kgTSS/(m²·d)] selected from Table 1.

A

thickener

Q

S

TSS

In

SLR

[m²]

(2)

The solids loading rate shall be smaller than the particle settling velocity of the sludge solids. This is generally the case, if solids loading rates from Table 1 are used.

DWA-M 381E

The depth of the thickener is calculated by adding the depth of the raking zone, the sludge zone, and the super- natant zone. The depth of the sludge zone is especially important, since it defines the solids retention time. For raw sludges a detention time or mean cell residence time of no more than 1,5 days should be chosen, since other- wise formation of biogas interferes with the settling proc- ess. For determining detention time and with it the vol- ume of the sludge zone, a mean solids content should be used that amounts to about 75 % of the final solids con- tent of the thickened sludge (at the discharge point in the cone end of the sludge hopper). The height of the sludge zone H S [m] is calculated using the solids loading rate SLR [kgTSS/(m 2 ·d)], the solids content of the thickened sludge TSS thick [kgTSS/m 3 ], and the detention time t d [d] of the sludge in the sludge zone:

H

S

SLR t

d

0,75 TSS

thick

[m]

(3)

A

height of the scraper blade shall be assumed for the raking zone H R . For the supernatant zone a height H W of

about 1.0 m is necessary. The total height of the con- tinuous-flow gravity thickener thus amounts to H = H W + H S + H R , measured at the outer circumfer- ence of the thickener.

minimum height of 0,3 m or a height equal to the

Also non-uniform influent and effluent flows to and from the continuous-flow gravity thickener should not considerably alter the selected detention time in the sludge zone, since otherwise the achievable solids con- tent of the thickened sludge decreases.

Solids contents achieved in continuous-flow gravity thickeners can vary greatly for different plants. This is due to sludge characteristics, actual sludge quantities, which may deviate from quantities assumed for dimen- sioning and last but not least to mode of operation.

4.1.2.1 Measurement of the Sludge Interface

For the operation of a continuous flow thickener the most important parameter is the sludge interface. It

defines the detention time of the solids in the sludge zone and thus achievable total solids concentration. If the interface is too low, lower solids concentration in the thickened sludge must be expected. If the interface is too high, solids retention time will promote a beginning degradation of the sludge (formation of biogas bubbles

at the thickener surface) thus reducing dewatering re-

sults. At the same time odour nuisances can occur. For controlling or monitoring sludge and supernatant with-

drawal from the thickener, measuring of the sludge interface level is useful.

Sensor measuring systems are in use, which detect the sludge interface level according to the following methods:

Generation, transmission and reception of ultra sound

waves; the attenuation of the ultra sound waves, which

is significantly higher in sludge, is measured.

Generation, transmission and reception of visible (tur- bidity measurement) or infrared light; light attenuation due to absorption and diffusion, which is significantly higher in sludge, is measured.

Such sensor measuring systems have a transducer and a receiver in a defined distance from each other. Sensors are installed below the surface of the supernatant above the sludge. Then the solids content of the sludge inter- face is defined and the measuring signal is calibrated accordingly.

Fixed as well as moving sensors are used. A moving sensor is a turbidity measuring sensor attached to a cable which is kept close to the sludge interface. If the sludge interface rises or falls, the motor-driven measur- ing sensor moves along.

Measuring systems up to a measuring range of 30 m are available. Measuring signals can be calibrated in a range of ca. 0,3 % up to ca. 10 % total solids content in the sludge or in the suspension. Operational experience with the various systems is not always positive. Thus, it is recommended, to conduct field tests on location before making a purchase decision. For optical measuring sys- tems one shall pay attention to good cleaning options in regard to possible interfering substances (e.g. grease) contained in the sludge.

4.1.3 Thickening Using Flotation Processes

During flotation processes small gas bubbles are gener- ated, which attach to the suspended particles thus causing

the particle to rise to the surface of the liquid. Flotation is

a significantly faster process for solids separation than

gravity sedimentation. In municipal wastewater treatment dissolved air flotation is used. Vacuum flotation, induced gas flotation, electro-flotation and mechanical induced gas flotation are usually not used here. During dissolved air flotation a water stream, which has been saturated with air under high pressure, is pressure released. Thus very fine air bubbles are produced. The solubility of gas in water in dependency on pressure has been known. Ac- cording to Henry-Dalton's law it is proportional to the partial pressure of the gas above the liquid (Figure 7). During pressure release spontaneously micro bubbles are produced, which have a diameter between 30 µm and 80 µm. Dissolved air flotation systems can be constructed as circular or rectangular tanks (see Figure 8).

DWA-M 381E

3 l/m air Q differential differential pressure pressure (bar) air quantity Q air l/m 3
3
l/m
air
Q
differential differential pressure pressure
(bar)
air quantity
Q air l/m 3
g/m 3

Figure 7:

Mathematically released air quantity in depend- ency on temperature and differential pressure

The main components are:

Gas injection unit, where the liquid (e.g. recycled water) is saturated with air under pressure

One or more pressure-reducing vales

Flotation tank with surface skimmers for the float blanket and scrapers for the bottom sludge.

The gas injection unit as well as the pressure release system determine bubble formation in the flotation tank. Standard pressures in the gas injection unit are between 3 and 5 bar, in former times up to 6 bar. Energy-saving flotation systems use low pressures since energy demand increases with gas injection pressure. Pressure-reducing valves should be installed in such a way that they can be exchanged individually and cleaned easily during opera- tion. In a flotation tank, the retention time of the floated sludge in the float zone decides the quality of the thick- ening result, since the float sludge will rise above the water level at sufficiently long retention time and will then thicken further. Therefore it is an advantage, if the float sludge removal velocity and the float blanket height are adjustable in reference to the water level.

Flotation systems should normally be equipped with scrapers for the bottom sludge.

Dissolved air flotation is classified into:

External stream process

Partial or complete stream processes

Recycle stream processes.

In the external stream process, additional water is intro- duced to the gas injection unit. Thus the wastewater quantity is increased. At wastewater treatment plants this process is normally not employed. In the partial or complete stream process, wastewater or liquid sludge or

a partial stream of them is introduced to the gas injec-

tion unit. This risks pollution of the pressurizing tank and clogging of the depressurizing valve. Additionally sludge particles are subjected to strong shear forces, which leads to smaller floc size and reduces floating ability. The recycle stream process, where clarified efflu- ent from the flotation unit effluent is returned to the gas injection unit, has proven to work best. Necessary recy- cle water quantities can be calculated (see [16]). Addi- tionally it may be reasonable to feed part of the recycle stream to the flotation unit influent as dilution water for

adjusting solids content. The entire recycle stream then amounts to 50 % to 200 % of liquid sludge feed. For floated sludge conveyance, positive displacement pumps are suitable, which can withdraw the air-enriched floated sludge.

A

dissolved air flotation system with a pressurizing unit

is

a complicated system in regard to process and auto-

mation technology. Several equipment manufacturers therefore use newly developed multiphase pumps, where added air (ambient air or pressurized air) is bro- ken into bubbles and dissolved in water. The pressuriz- ing unit and its periphery are not necessary anymore, when using this process technology.

Further operating experience is discussed in Clause 5.3.

Table 2 presents operating and dimensioning data for existing dissolved air flotation systems according to

[12].

DWA-M 381E

Flotationsschlamm Flotationsschlamm float sludge float sludge waste activated waste activated Überschuss -
Flotationsschlamm
Flotationsschlamm
float sludge
float sludge
waste activated
waste activated
Überschuss -
Überschuss -
sludge sludge
schlamm
schlamm
Flotationsschlamm
Flotationsschlamm
float sludge
float sludge
Bodenschlamm
Bodenschlamm
bottom sludge
bottom sludge
Klarwasser
Klarwasser
clarified effluent
clarified effluent
pressurizing
pressurizing
Druck-
Druck-
erzeuger
erzeuger
unit
unit
sediment
sediment
Sedimentabzug
Sedimentabzug
Luft
Luft
air
air
removal removal

Figure 8:

Schematic diagram of a dissolved air flotation system in a rectangular tank, recycle stream process

Table 2:

Operating and dimensioning data for existing dissolved air flotation systems according to [12]

Parameter

Term

 

Unit

Value

Surface loading rate

 

q

A,

m

3 /(m 2 h)

1

– 7,5

Solids loading rate

 

SLR

kgTSS/(m 2 h)

5

– 20

Specific air feed

Q

air/TSS

g air/kgTSS

5

– 40

Pressure difference at pressure release

 

Δp

 

bar

3

– 6

Mean size of air bubbles

 

D

air

 

µm

30

– 80

Flotation tank length

 

L

FT

 

m

6

– 30

Flotation tank depth

 

h

FT

 

m

0,6 – 3,5

Ratio length : depth

 

L : h

 

-

2

– 8

Flotation tank diameter

 

D

FT

 

m

5

– 20

Detention time in the mixing zone

   

min

1

– 2

Detention time in the flotation tank

   

min

20

– 60

Scraping velocity of the float sludge skimmer

   

cm/s

1

– 3

DWA-M 381E

4.2

Mechanical Thickening Using Natural Gravity

4.2.1

Basic Principles, Designs

If sludge is thickening mechanically using natural grav- ity, water binding forces are reduced by the addition of flocculation agents. In terms of physics, it is a screening or sieving process. On account of the sludge-specific strength of the water binding forces and the mode of operation of the equipment, at times large quantities of flocculation agent are required for achieving a high degree of thickening depending on mechanical stress on the sludge flocs.

These thickening devices definitely need a downstream flocculant mixing zone adapted to sludge characteristics and a flocculation reactor/flocculation unit. In this floc- culation unit the sludge mixed with flocculant is stirred floc-friendly by a continuously adjustable agitator in order to maximize required total flocculation. Maximum utilization of the flocculant, determines the efficiency of the subsequent thickening device. Generally, a cross- linked liquid flocculant or a mixture of liquid and solid flocculants is used for conditioning. When using such a thickening device, aerosol generation caused by atomisa- tion of spray water for cleaning machines and filter units, shall be taken into consideration. Operating per- sonnel shall be protected adequately.

Thickening devices which make use of natural gravita- tional forces are rotary drum screens, screw thickeners, gravity belt thickeners, disk thickeners and thickening pumps.

4.2.2

Construction, Control Options

4.2.2.1

Rotary Drum Screen Thickeners

Drum screens (Figure 9) have been supplied for years by various manufacturers. They are cylindrical drums cov- ered by a filter media on the outside. The drum is in- stalled horizontally or with a slight variable angle of incli- nation. The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and is fed floc-friendly to the slowly rotating drum by overflow. Using an integrated screw flight or a worm gear weir, the sludge moves through the drum. The slow rota- tion of the drum constantly moves the sludge thus im- proving water release. On the discharge side, the sludge drops directly onto a conveyer. The filtrate is drained through the filter media and is collected in a tank and in a discharge pipe. The filter media, which has a sludge spe- cific mesh size, shall be kept clean of finest particles by spray washing from the outside.

In order to improve efficiency of the drum screen, some manufacturers use belt thickeners as a pre-thickening step.

Control options for drum screen operation:

Rotational speed of the drum

Mixing energy in the flocculation reactor

Flocculant dosage

Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.

Variable parameters are optimized during operation for particular sludge types and characteristics taking into consideration thickening objectives.

Various sizes of drum screens are offered by various manufacturers.

agitator agitator flocculation unit flocculation unit fabric cleaning fabric cleaning polymer polymer sludge feed
agitator
agitator
flocculation unit
flocculation unit
fabric cleaning
fabric cleaning
polymer
polymer
sludge feed
sludge feed
filtrate effluent
filtrate effluent
discharge thickened sludge
discharge thickened sludge

Figure 9:

Schematic diagram of a rotary drum screen (Roefilt, Passavant-Geiger GmbH)

DWA-M 381E

Table 3:

Manufactured sizes of rotary drum screens

Parameter

Unit

From

 

To

Capacity

m³/h

3

 

100

Solids feed capacity

kg/h

15

1

500

Drum diameter

mm

600

1

200

Drum length

mm

1 500

3

500

Rotational speed of the drum

1/min

2

 

30

4.2.2.2 Rotary Screw Thickeners

In a rotary screw thickener (Figure 10), the sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and is fed to the thickener by overflow. Filling height is constant and independent from inflow. The rotary screw thickener consists of an inclined (about 30°) stationary cylindrical wedge wire drum with an inner screw flight for sludge conveyance. Due to variable, slow rotation of the screw flight, a continuous conveyance and turning of the sludge takes place, which improves water release. In the context of process engineering, it is not considered a pressing procedure. In order to prevent deposits on the inner side of the drum brushes are installed in the spi- rals of the screw. Additionally a rotating spray nozzle system is installed for cleaning the wedge wire drum from the outside. The spray system is operated in inter- vals, which are adjustable according to sludge character- istics. In comparison to other thickening equipment, which utilizes natural gravity, very little quantities of spray water are required. The filtrate is drained through

Table 4:

Manufactured sizes of rotary screw thickeners

the wedge wire drum and is collected in a tank and in a discharge pipe. At the discharge of the rotary screw thickener, the thickened sludge is transported via a hopper to the thickened sludge pump.

Control options for rotary screw thickener operation:

Rotational speed of the screw flight

Mixing energy in the flocculation unit

Flocculant dosage

Sludge feed capacity per unit of time

Frequency of spray nozzle cleaning.

During operation variable parameters are optimized for particular sludge types and characteristics taking into consideration thickening objectives.

Rotary screw thickeners are offered in varying sizes (see Table 4).

Parameter

Unit

From

 

To

Capacity

m³/h

8

 

90

Solids capacity

kg/h

40

 

750

Diameter of the wedge wire drum

mm

300

1

200

Length of the wedge wire

mm

1 200

1

900

Rotational speed of the screw flight

1/min

1

 

12

DWA-M 381E

DWA-M 381E Figure 10: Schematic drawing of a rotary screw thickener (Rotamat, Huber Technology, Inc.) 4.2.2.3

Figure 10:

Schematic drawing of a rotary screw thickener (Rotamat, Huber Technology, Inc.)

4.2.2.3 Belt Thickeners

Belt thickeners (Figure 11) are continuously operated devices, where conditioned sludge is spread evenly on a porous rotating filter belt and is thickened by gravity drainage. All belt thickeners work according to this prin- ciple, however modified constructions try to enhance gravity drainage by pressure or vacuum. Belt thickeners can also be used for pre-thickening before drum screens or before belt filter presses for sludge dewatering.

The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and is distributed evenly and turbulence-free on the filter belt. After complete flocculation of the sludge using flocculants, spontaneously considerable water quantities are released. The filtrate is drained in the horizontal gravity drainage zone of the continuously rotating filter belt. Solids are retained on the belt. By installation of various devices (so-called chicanes) the sludge is shifted and turned on the belt. Thus, water released by floccula- tion can drain and is not collected or retained on the filter belt surface or within the solids layer. Finally, the thickened sludge is discharged over an adjustable ramp with a scraper blade for further treatment.

Belt movement is normally controlled by pneumatic or hydraulic tracking and tensioning rolls. Directional sta- bility is monitored and if necessary the machine is shut off automatically and a fault report is triggered.

In some machine types the filter belt passes through a vacuum zone after the gravity drainage zone. The vacuum is used to remove additional quantities of water contained between the sludge flocs. Furthermore, it is possible to transport the gravity-drained pre-thickened sludge to a second belt, where slight pressure is applied to the sludge by pneumatically adjustable pressure plates or rollers, in order to further improve dewatering results.

The belt is fed back automatically and cleaned in a wash spray installation. It is operated at water pressures up to 8 bar and cleans the filter belt before it is used again. Often filtrate collected in a collection tray is used as washing water. By doing so consumption of external water for belt cleaning can be decrease significantly or avoided completely. Additionally, solids-laden washing water can be returned to the influent. Thus an improved degree of separation is achieved.

DWA-M 381E

Control options for the operation of belt thickeners:

Belt speed

Mixing energy in the flocculation unit

Thickness of the sludge layer, regulated by the height of the ramp at the discharge chute

Sludge feed capacity per unit of time

Flocculant dosage.

At belt thickeners a visual control of the sludge, which is conveyed on the belt, is possible thus the quality of floccu- lation and the degree of thickening can be monitored. Belt thickeners are offered in various sizes (see Table 5).

Table 5:

Manufactured sizes of belt thickeners

 
 

Unit

from

 

to

Capacity

m³/h

10

 

150

Solids feed capacity

kg/h

50

2

250

Belt width

mm

800

2

700

Belt speed

m/min

7

 

30

4.2.2.4 Disk Thickeners

Disk thickeners (Figure 12) are continuously operated thickening devices, where the conditioned sludge is dis- tributed evenly on a filter disk and is thickened by gravity drainage. The inclined disk, which consists of a perforated carrier disk covered by a filter cloth with uniform mesh size, rotates slowly and is completely enclosed by a stainless steel casing. The filter disk separates the casing into two zones which are sealed off from each other. Sludge is thickened in the zone above the filter disk, while filtrate is collected in the zone below the disk.

The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and is fed floc-friendly to the surface of the filter disk by overflow. The conditioned sludge settles on the filter disk. Free water drains through the filter cloth, is col- lected in the filtrate trough and is discharged via a bot- tom drain.

Solids are conveyed to a discharge opening by the rotation of the disk. Rotational speed of the disk thick- ener can be varied during operation. Furthermore, the angle of inclination of the disk can be adapted to the

characteristics of the sludge which is to be thickened. Chicanes in the thickening zone enhance separation of

solids and liquid. In addition a scraper is installed above the disk, which supports sludge discharge and continuously removes the solids from the filter disk. As a consequence of the disk's inclination, solids are dis- charged as well-thickened sludge. A spray bar installed between sludge feed and sludge discharge spray washes the filter cloth from below. Spray washing from below guarantees that no solids are flushed into the filtrate. Recycled filtrate is used as spray water. On account of its construction the system has very few wear parts.

belt chicanes adjustable ramp drive filtrate Filtrat feed and maturing chamber feed of flocculated suspension
belt
chicanes
adjustable ramp
drive
filtrate
Filtrat
feed and maturing
chamber
feed of flocculated
suspension
belt wash water
chute
Zulauf geflockte Suspension

sludge discharge

Figure 11:

Schematic drawing of a belt thickener (Turbodrain, Bellmer GmbH)

DWA-M 381E

DWA-M 381E Figure 12: Schematic drawing of a disk thickener (Huber Technology, Inc.) Control options for

Figure 12:

Schematic drawing of a disk thickener

(Huber Technology, Inc.)

Control options for the operation of disk thickeners:

Rotational speed of the disk

Inclination of the disk

Mixing energy in the flocculation unit

Flocculant dosage

Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.

Disk thickeners are currently offered in two sizes.

This type of thickening aggregate has been in full-scale operation at smaller wastewater treatment plants, but so far very little data have been published for evaluating performance and economic efficiency.

Table 6:

Manufactured sizes of disk thickeners

Parameter

Unit

From

To

Capacity

m³/h

5

40

Solids feed capacity

kg/h

25

350

   

1 500 to

Disk diameter

mm

1 800

Disk rotation

1/min

1,5

10

4.2.2.5 Thickening Pumps

Thickening pumps (Figure 13) are continuously oper- ated thickening aggregates. Sludge thickening and pumping of thickened sludge is achieved by one ma- chine. Basically the thickening pump can be considered

a modified eccentric screw pump, where the suction

chamber has been replaced by a rotating cylindrical filter screen. The filter cylinder consists of a stainless

steel support structure covered by an exchangeable synthetic fabric and an inner spiral-screw conveyer.

The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and

is fed to the rotating filter cylinder, where is it trans-

ported in axial direction to the pump head. The sludge is transported by the inner spiral-screw conveyer. The flocculated sludge is moved continuously by the slow rotation of the filter cylinder thus enhancing water dis- charge. The released free water drains through the filter fabric into a collection pan and a discharge pipe. The filter fabric, which has a sludge-specific mesh size, shall be spray washed continuously from the outside. At the end of the filter cylinder the sludge enters the "force- feed chamber" of the pump. The chamber has the same diameter as the rotating filter cylinder, while the stator of the pump has a smaller diameter and is mounted centrally at the front end of the force-feed chamber. The thickened sludge is pumped by the stator/rotor-system of an eccentric screw pump to further treatment. The rotating filter cylinder is mounted on the shaft of the rotor drive and thus has identical revolution speed as the pump.

Control options for the operation of thickening pumps:

Revolution speed of the drive motor

Mixing energy in the flocculation unit

Flocculant dosage

Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.

Thickening pumps are currently only offered in one size (see Table 7).

Table 7:

Manufactured sizes of thickening pumps

Parameter

Unit

From

To

Capacity

m³/h

2

15

Solids feed capacity

kg/h

20

150

Thickening pumps have been in full-scale operation at smaller wastewater treatment plants, but so far very little data have been published for evaluating perform- ance and economic efficiency.

DWA-M 381E

process process water water flocculant flocculantsolution solution spray spray wash wash water water pump pump
process process water water
flocculant flocculantsolution solution
spray spray wash wash water water
pump pump
liquid sludge
liquid sludge feed
feed
flocculation flocculation
unit unit
filtrate
filtrate

Figure 13:

Schematic drawing of a thickening pump (Decadrain, Hiller GmbH)

4.3

Mechanical Thickening Using Artificial Gravity

4.3.1

Centrifuges – Construction and Control Options

In centrifuges (Figure 14) mechanically generated artifi- cial gravity is used to separate the "liquid" phase from the "solid" phase of the sludge. As a consequence of generated centrifugal forces, water binding forces are overcome using artificial gravity. Therefore centrifuges can be operated until the desired degree of thickening is achieved also without addition of flocculants. If very high degrees of separation are required, small quantities of flocculatants shall be used. Because of their continu- ous mode of operation solid bowl centrifuges (decant- ers) are preferred for thickening sewage sludge. It must be mentioned however that centrifuges have a relatively high maintenance and inspection demand (according to accident prevention regulation "Grundsätze der Präven- tion (Basic prevention regulations)" BGV A1 dated Janu- ary 1, 2004 with reference to Betriebssicherheitsverord- nung (German Operational Safety Act) [33]).

Sludge is fed through a feed pipe into the rotating cen- trifuge drum. Centrifugal forces cause the solids to con- centrate on the inner bowl wall, while the sludge liquor (centrate) forms an inner ring above the solids layer. Pond depth (depth of the liquid and the solid phase) is defined by weir plates. A helical scroll, spinning at a slightly different speed than the bowl, moves the accu- mulated sludge towards the tapered end where the sludge is then discharged.

Various manufacturers of centrifuges also offer co- current as well as counter-current centrifuges for the thickening of waste activated sludge. The difference lies in the location of the feed point in the centrifuge and in the direction of flow of the sludge phase and the liquid phase. In operation, generally no significant differences of efficiency can be observed.

Control options for the operation of centrifuges:

Rotational speed of the bowl

Rotational speed difference between bowl and scroll

Pond depth

Flocculant dosage

Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.

If flocculants are used for improving the degree of sepa- ration, they have to be selected according to type and quantity and particular sludge characteristics. In contrast to thickening aggregates which use natural gravity, centrifuges require a very low specific flocculant quan- tity for conditioning. Inexpensive powder flocculants can be used as well. During operation variable parameters are optimized for each type of sludge and for specific sludge characteristics taking into consideration thicken- ing objectives.

If the objectives are

high sludge feed capacity,

high degree of thickening with regard to subsequent sludge treatment steps or

high degree of separation possibly without the addi- tion of flocculants,

DWA-M 381E

scroll gear box scroll feed zone weir plate bowl drive drum drive centrate solids sludge
scroll
gear box
scroll
feed zone
weir plate
bowl
drive
drum
drive
centrate
solids
sludge
discharge
discharge
feed

Figure 14:

Schematic drawing of a counter-current thickening centrifuge (Flottweg AG)

then control and regulation of the rotational speed dif- ference or the height of the weir plate is useful as well as monitoring of the centrate quality. If, in dependency on sludge characteristics and utilization ratio, the degree of separation in the centrate is unsatisfactory (e.g. less than 80 %), then flocculants shall be added. Already if relatively small quantities of flocculants are added, the degree of separation or the possible sludge feed capacity per unit of time increases significantly.

Centrifuges have a large range of application. They are suitable for thickening and dewatering of all types of sludges. Construction and equipment with various ancil- lary components shall be adapted to each particular application.

Centrifuges are offered by various manufacturers in varying sizes (see Table 8).

Table 8:

Manufactured size of thickening centrifuges

Parameter

Unit

From

 

To

Capacity

m³/h

5

200

Sludge feed capacity

kg/h

20

3

000

Bowl diameter

mm

250

1

400

Bowl length including conus

mm

600

4

200

Rotational speed of the bowl

1/min

700

3

000

The rotational speed of the bowl, which is optimized according to sludge characteristics and machine effi- ciency, as a rule is much lower for thickening than for dewatering centrifuges. When operating thickening centrifuges with addition of flocculants, the centrifuge can be operated generally at a much lower rotational speed, which significantly reduces energy demand and wear and tear in the centrifuge.

If waste activated sludge is thickened in centrifuges with- out the addition of flocculants, the flow behaviour of the thickened sludge changes considerably in dependency on sludge characteristics and degree of thickening. Viscosity of the thickened sludge increases strongly and it can be- come pasty. This shall be taken into account for planning and dimensioning of the entire plant especially for dimen- sioning of pumps and pipes for thickened sludge.

Reliability and availability of centrifuges can be en- hanced by using high-alloy steel for rotor and scroll. These materials are advantageous especially for aggres- sive sludges and longer dead times.

Economic efficiency of centrifuges can possibly be in- creased by using the same aggregate for thickening and

dewatering. Then, however, one shall take into consid- eration that mechanical thickening cannot be accom-

plished at optimum efficiency in a dewatering centri- fuge. Due to the geometric construction one shall

possibly expect increased flocculant demand for thicken- ing and unsatisfactory thickening results. Since normally different flocculant are used for thickening and dewater- ing, two flocculation units are necessary. Also, addi- tional flushing and start-up periods shall be considered. The overall cost efficiency of this process alternative shall be evaluated in each individual case.

DWA-M 381E

4.3.2 Further Developments in Machine Technology

Lysate-Centrifuge

During the last years, various manufacturers of centri- fuges have developed thickening centrifuges for waste activated sludge (lysate-centrifuge), which are equipped

with a mechanical device for cell destruction (disintegra- tion). A special striking mechanism is mounted on the solids discharge side of the centrifuge. Centrate quality

in general is not influenced by the disintegration device.

The lysate-device of one manufacturer can be retrofitted

in existing machines.

The objective of the lysate-centrifuge technology is to achieve cell disintegration by destroying micro-organic cells of the centrifugally thickened sludge and thus im- prove and accelerate degradation during biological sta- bilisation.

The high wear and tear in the machinery and especially

the generally negative effects on sludge structure as a result of disintegration, which are comparable to those

of other known sludge disintegration methods, shall be

evaluated.

Only a small number of these aggregates has been in full-scale operation and so far very little data have been published for evaluating performance and economic efficiency.

Thickening centrifuges using the Varipond-system

One of the manufacturers for centrifuges has developed

a centrifuge for the thickening of waste activate sludge

which has a control and regulating system for adjusting pond depth in the decanter bowl using a throttle plate which moves along its axis (varipond system). Together with the rotating weir plates, pond depth in the centri- fuge can continuously be adjusted and optimized for feed sludge characteristics at full operating speed. When using the varipond system the centrifuge can be equipped with an inexpensive belt-driven screw drive.

On account of low screw torque in the centrifuge during thickening of waste activated sludge a hydraulic or elec- tric screw drive is not necessary.

The objective of the varipond system is to achieve a constant discharge concentration of solids at a constant feed capacity but fluctuating solids feed concentrations. The throttle plate is normally controlled manually or by

a continuous measuring of scattered light/turbidity,

which monitors solids concentration in the discharged

thickened sludge.

This type of cenrifuge has been in full-scale operation for many years, but still so far very little data have been published for evaluating performance and economic efficiency.

5 Performance Data of Vari- ous Thickening Processes

5.1 Application Ranges

Waste activated sludges, which are often hardly thicke- nable with gravity thickening, can be concentrated with various mechanical processes. This is valid for new treat- ment plants as well as for rehabilitation measures of exist- ing plants. Since thickening efficiency largely depends on plant-specific sludge characteristics, it is recommended to conduct full-scale tests on location. Most machinery manufacturers offer mobile test plants. Thus, it is gener- ally possible to test various machinery types directly on location in direct comparison. During the tests, not only the degree of thickening can be determined but also speci- fications on flocculant and energy demand, which deter- mine operating costs, can be verified.

Basically no limitations in regard to minimum solids feed concentration exist for mechanical thickening. Thus, also very thin waste activated sludges with a solids content less than 5 gTSS/l can be thickened.

5.2 Thickening Results and their Dependencies