Title page for ETD etd-10212004-070512

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Subramanian, Sivarangan Rahul
URN etd-10212004-070512
Title Investigating the Role of Various Environment and Process Conditions in Wastewater Sludge Odor Generation
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Novak, John T. Committee Chair
Murthy, Sudhir N. Committee Member
Randall, Clifford W. Committee Member
  • Biosolids
  • Trimethylamine
  • Volatile sulfur compounds
  • Wastewater sludge
Date of Defense 2004-08-26
Availability unrestricted

Dewatered sludges and biosolids generated from wastewater treatment facilities are known to emit malodorous odors causing public inconvenience. The odors typically comprise of reduced organo sulfur based compounds and nitrogen containing compounds. Lime stabilization is a technique which is commonly used in the wastewater industry to produce biosolids having reduced odors that can be safely land disposed. In this research, odors produced from dewatered sludges and lime stabilized biosolids were investigated.

Lime dosing and incorporation in sludge play an important role in generation of reduced sulfur and trimethylamine (TMA) odor compounds. Results revealed that poor lime dosing can lead to an increase in odors due to biological generation of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) during storage. In this study, a belt filter press gave a higher production of sulfur and TMA odors compared to a vacuum filter for the same sludge, which is attributed to the shear imparted to sludge during the dewatering process. Preliming studies suggested incomplete mixing of lime with sludge led to biological activity. The achievement of the correct pH and its maintenance during storage is considered critical for effective odor management from lime stabilized biosolids.

A positive linear relation was obtained between sulfur based odor production and labile protein content in sludge. Furthermore, as the Al/Fe ratio increased, the labile proteins was observed to decrease. Trivalent metals are found to play an important role in binding of labile proteins thus effecting odor potential contained in sludge/biosolids. This was found true for most sludge irrespective of their liming status and independent of upstream process conditions. Further work in this area is needed to be able to provide a better understanding of odor production to aid in development of odor control techniques.

Trimethylamine odors, having a characteristic fishy odor, are commonly found in lime stabilized biosolids. Cationic polymers used as dewatering aids are the primary precursors for TMA production. Proteins present in sludge are also associated with odor forming compounds but they produce much lower levels than polymers. These two components under the action of shear present in dewatering devices such as centrifuge are more likely to cause an increase in odor production from lime stabilized biosolids. It was also determined that abiotic polymer degradation to produce TMA either does not occur, or the rate is so slow that TMA production in this way is insignificant for actual field situations.

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