Co-application of energy uncoupling and ultrafiltration in sludge treatment: Evaluations of sludge reduction, supernatant recovery and membrane fouling control
Effects of metabolic uncouplers addition on sludge reduction were carried out. TCS addition effectively inhibited ATP synthesis and reduced sludge yield. The effluent quality such as TOC and ammonia deteriorated but not significantly. Suitable dosage retarded biofouling during sludge water recovery by UF membrane. Energy uncoupling is often used for sludge reduction because it is easy to operate and does not require a significant amount of extra equipments (i.e. no additional tank required). However, over time the supernatant extracted using this method can deteriorate, ultimately requiring further treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of using a low-pressure ultrafiltration membrane process for sludge water recovery after the sludge had undergone an energy uncoupling treatment (using 3,3′,4′,5-tetrachlorosalicylanilide (TCS)). Energy uncoupling was found to break apart sludge floc by reducing extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content. Analysis of supernatant indicated that when energy uncoupling and membrane filtration were co-applied and the TCS dosage was below 30 mg/L, there was no significant deterioration in organic component removal. However, ammonia and phosphate concentrations were found to increase as the concentration of TCS added increased. Additionally, due to low sludge concentrations and EPS contents, addition of 30–60 mg/L TCS during sludge reduction increased the permeate flux (two times higher than the control) and decreased the hydraulic reversible and cake layer resistances. In contrast, high dosage of TCS aggravated membrane fouling by forming compact fouling layers. In general, this study found that the co-application of energy uncoupling and membrane filtration processes represents an effective alternative method for simultaneous sludge reduction and sludge supernatant recovery.
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