Activated Sludge vs. Trickling Filter: Decoding the Differences

Wastewater treatment is a decisive process to avoid waterborne diseases & maintain healthy environments for everybody. Microorganisms, particularly bacteria, are used in wastewater treatment methods. Along with bacteria, nematodes & other small organisms, they also engage in biological wastewater treatment. So, if you’re in need of a water treatment plant, opt for Plantas Piloto de tratamiento de agua today.

Microorganisms tear down complex organic material in the wastewater & help in purification. There are two types of biological wastewater treatment: Aerobic wastewater treatment & anaerobic wastewater treatment.

What is Activated Sludge?

It is a suspended growth grid in which dissolved & colloidal organic matters are oxidized in the presence of microorganisms. Activated sludge treatment is a kind of secondary treatment in which microorganisms break down the residual suspended solids & the number of pathogens is minimized. Moreover, 90% to 95% of BOD reduction can be obtained in the activated sludge system of Plantas Piloto de tratamiento de agua.

Activated sludge systems have ventilation basins & clarifiers. A series of ventilation basins are designed to boost the metabolism & growth of aerobic microorganisms. They develop aggregates. They’re the organisms that decompose organic load in the sewer water.

Microorganisms utilize oxygen to decompose organic matter. Wastewater is preserved in ventilation basins for a couple of hours, receives extensive ventilation & goes to the clarifier. The activated sludge solids settle down in the clarifier due to the suspension by flocculation & gravity sedimentation. The separated solids sink into the bottom of the clarifier, leaving a transparent supernatant above.

However, there are several problems with the activated sludge system. Some of these problems include bulking, dispersed growth, sludge rising, scum overflow, foaming, & infections.

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What is Trickling Filter?

It is an aerobic wastewater treatment method in which the biomass is grown on mass & the sewage is passed over its surface. A trickling filter system is a sort of an attached culture arrangement. It is also termed a percolating filter. However, in a trickling filter system, there are 4 main components: a circular tank, a clarifier, distributers, & an underdrain system.

The circulating tank holds the filter medium constituted of various materials, including ceramic materials, stones, hard coal, treated wood, or plastics, etc. The filter medium offers a larger surface area & sufficient free space for air diffusion. In addition, the filter medium must not be toxic to microbes & should be mechanically steady.

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Rotating arms or distributers sprinkle water & the water containing the organic matter percolates thru the filter material. A biofilm containing various types of aerobic microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, algae, protozoa, & other life forms) is developed on the filter medium’s surface. Biofilm decomposes the organic material in the wastewater. An underdrain system is used for the accumulation of filtered liquid & the introduction of air. However, a clarifier helps to separate the solids from liquids.

There are several benefits to a trickling filter system of PlantasPiloto de tratamiento de agua. It is attractive to small-scale communities because of the low maintenance cost, ease of operation, & reliability. Moreover, it is utilized to treat harmful industrial effluents as well & can endure shock loads of poisonous inputs. Moreover, the sloughed-off biofilm can be eliminated easily at the time of sedimentation.

Activated Sludge Vs. Trickling Filter

Here are some differences between activated sludge & trickling filter you should look at before opting for PlantasPiloto de tratamiento de agua.

1. Definition

An activated sludge grid is a suspended culture procedure in which the biomass is mixed with the wastewater. On the other hand, a trickling filter system is an attached culture procedure in which the biomass is grown on mass media, & the wastewater passes over its surface. Well, this is the crucial difference between trickling filters & activated sludge.

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2. Components

The activated sludge system consists of a series of ventilation basins & a secondary clarifier. While trickling filter system consists of a circular tank, an underdrain system, distributors, & a clarifier. So, this is the difference between trickling filters & activated sludge in terms of their composition.

3. Microorganisms

Microorganisms present in the activated sludge system are suspended in the mixed liquid suspended solids. On the other hand, microorganisms present in the trickling filter system are connected to the filter medium. Hence, this is also a crucial difference between trickling filters & activated sludge.

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Wastewater treatment is an important process that must be properly maintained to secure human health. Activated sludge & trickling filter are both aerobic sewage treatment methods. However, a trickling filter holds the advantage over activated sludge & is more effective.

Call to Action:

Are you in search of effective wastewater treatment? Then it’s better to opt for Kieken Engineering as we offer the most innovative, superior quality & affordable technology available to date. To know more about us, give us a call at +34-91-057-7254. You can also mail us at