Separation, Characterization and Fouling Potential of Sludge Waters from Different Biological Wastewater Treatment Processes

  • Jinkai Xue

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

The major limitation, which hinders the wider application of membrane technology and increases the operating costs of membranes involved in wastewater treatment plants, is membrane fouling induced by organic matter. Extracellular polymeric products (EPS) and soluble microbial products (SMP) are the two most mentioned major foulants in publications, for which the debate on precise definitions seems to be endless. Therefore, a concept of sludge water, which conceptually covers both EPS and SMP, has been developed in this research. A standard procedure of sludge water separation, which is centrifugation at 4000g for 15 min followed by 1.2μm glass fiber filter filtration, was established based on separation experiments with membrane tank sludge from the KAUST MBR wastewater treatment plant. Afterwards, sludge waters from the KAUST MBR WWTP anoxic tank, aerobic tank and membrane tank as well as sludge waters from the Jeddah WWTP anoxic tank, aerobic tank and secondary effluent were produced through the previously developed standard procedure. The obtained sludge water samples were thereafter characterized with TOC/COD, LC-­-OCD and F-­-EEM, which showed that KAUST anoxic/ aerobic /membrane tank sludge waters had similar characteristics for all investigated parameters, yet the influent naturally had a higher DOC and biopolymer concentration. Moreover, lower TOC/COD, negligible biopolymers and low levels of humics were found in KAUST effluent. Compared with the KAUST MBR WWTP, the Jeddah WWTP’s sludge waters generally had higher DOC and biopolymer concentrations. To investigate sludge water fouling potential, the KAUST membrane tank sludge water as well as the Jeddah secondary effluent were filtrated through a membrane array consisting of an ultrafiltration (UF) Millipore RC10kDa at the first step followed by a nanofiltration (NF) KOCH Acid/Base stable NF200 at the second step. It was found that cake layer and standard blocking occurred simultaneously during both of these filtration processes. For the KAUST MBR membrane tank sludge water and the Jeddah WWTP effluent, the fouling potential of humic/building blocks was much higher than that of biopolymers. Compared with the KAUST MBR membrane tank sludge water, the Jeddah WWTP effluent had comparable biopolymer fouling potential and higher humic/building blocks fouling potential.
Date of AwardJul 2011
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Science and Engineering
SupervisorGary Amy (Supervisor)

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