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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


DOS SANTOS, Siivania Lucas; CHAVES, Silvia Raphaele Morais  and  VAN HAANDEL, Adrianus. Influence of temperature on the performance of anaerobic treatment systems of municipal wastewater. Water SA [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.2, pp.211-222. ISSN 1816-7950.

Anaerobic sewage treatment systems, especially upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors, have found wide application over the past decades, particularly in regions with a warm climate. A low sewage temperature is generally considered as a factor contributing to poor performance, characterized by an increase of the COD fractions in the effluent and the generated sludge, and decreasing the fraction that is transformed into methane. An experimental investigation was carried out at pilot scale to establish the values of the three COD fractions for different values of temperature and the applied organic load. The sludge age of the anaerobic treatment, together with temperature, was identified as the main operational variable that affects the efficiency of anaerobic treatment. An empirical expression was derived for the values of the three factions as a function of these two variables. From the results of the experimental investigation it was apparent that there is no point in applying a sludge age of more than 100 d, when the reactor is near its best performance. An expression was derived to establish the hydraulic retention time for maximum digestion efficiency as a function of temperature, concentration and composition of organic material and sludge mass. It was established that the main limit to the sludge hold-up in UASB reactors treating sewage is not the sludge settleability, but rather the break-up of flocs leading to loss of small, poorly-settling particles.

Keywords : anaerobic sewage treatment; UASB reactor; temperature; sludge age; process simulation.

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