Occurrence, distribution, and potential influencing factors of sewage sludge components derived from nine full-scale wastewater treatment plants of Beijing, China

Xu Wang , Meiyan Li , Junxin Liu , Jiuhui Qu


Received October 02, 2015,Revised January 05, 2016, Accepted January 06, 2016, Available online February 13, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 233-239

Millions of tons of waste activated sludge (WAS) produced from biological wastewater treatment processes cause severe adverse environmental consequences. A better understanding of WAS composition is thus very critical for sustainable sludge management. In this work, the occurrence and distribution of several fundamental sludge constituents were explored in WAS samples from nine full-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) of Beijing, China. Among all the components investigated, active heterotrophic biomass was dominant in the samples (up to 9478 mg/L), followed by endogenous residues (6736 mg/L), extracellular polymeric substances (2088 mg/L), and intracellular storage products (464 mg/L) among others. Moreover, significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed in composition profiles of sludge samples among the studied WWTPs. To identify the potential parameters affecting the variable fractions of sludge components, wastewater source as well as design and operational parameters of WWTPs were studied using statistical methods. The findings indicated that the component fraction of sewage sludge depends more on wastewater treatment alternatives than on wastewater characteristics among other parameters. A principal component analysis was conducted, which further indicated that there was a greater proportion of residual inert biomass in the sludge produced by the combined system of the conventional anaerobic/anoxic/oxic process and a membrane bioreactor. Additionally, a much longer solids retention time was also found to influence the sludge composition and induce an increase in both endogenous inert residues and extracellular polymeric substances in the sludge.

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