Title page for ETD etd-03312009-184035

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Riedel, David John
Author's Email Address riedeldj@vt.edu
URN etd-03312009-184035
Title An Investigation into the Mechanisms of Sludge Reduction Technologies
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Novak, John T. Committee Chair
Boardman, Gregory D. Committee Member
Bott, Charles B. Committee Member
  • sludge reduction technologies
  • Cannibal
  • thermal hydrolysis
  • shear
  • ozone
  • sonication
  • biosolids
  • anaerobic digestion
Date of Defense 2009-03-30
Availability unrestricted
Anaerobic digestion has been the preferred method for reducing and stabilizing waste sludge from biological wastewater treatment for over a century; however, as sludge volumes and disposal costs increase, there has been a desire to develop various methods for reducing the volume of sludge to be treated, improving the performance of the digesters, and increasing the energy value of the sludge. To this end, there have been numerous pretreatment and side-stream systems studied and developed over the past several decades with the overall goal of reducing the volume of biosolids to be disposed of in landfills or by land application. These technologies can be broken into four large groups: mechanical, thermal, chemical and biological, although there is often overlap between groups.

This research approached the evaluations of these technologies through several methods in the hopes of developing effective tools for predicting the performance of each technology. Batch digestion studies mimicking several of these treatment methods and extensive analytical work on samples from full-scale installations were conducted to determine the effectiveness of each technology. From these studies a simple batch digestion methodology was developed to analyze the effectiveness of the Cannibal solids reduction process on wastewater streams that have never been exposed to it. Batch digestion of sludges pretreated with ozone, mechanical shear and sonication provided insight into the effectiveness of each technology. Extensive analytical work on samples collected from full-scale installations of thermal hydrolysis, mechanical shear and the Cannibal process provided some insight into the workings of each process and potential leads as to how to further characterize and evaluate each process.

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