Water treatment plant: understanding sludge treatment & disposal
Water treatment plants are plants that need to be installed for the recycling of water that could be beneficial to several domestic purposes. Now let’s learn more about it in brief before opting for Plantas piloto de tratamiento de agua.
Understanding Sludge Treatment & Disposal
The residue that piles up in sewage treatment plants is known as sludge. Sewage sludge is the semisolid, solid, or slurry waste material generated as a by-product of sewage treatment processes. However, this residue is often classified as primary & secondary sludge.
Primary sludge is produced from sedimentation, chemical precipitation, & other primary processes, while secondary sludge is the activated litter biomass arising from biological treatments. Most often, the sludges are mixed together for additional treatment & disposal.
Treatment & disposal of sludge are crucial factors in the design & operation of every wastewater treatment plant. Two primary targets of treating sludge before the last disposal are to minimize its volume & to level off the organic materials. Leveled-off sludge doesn’t have an offensive odor & can be treated without causing a health hazard.
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Treatment of wastewater sludge includes an association of thickening, sludge digestion, & dewatering methods. Let’s go through it in brief before you go for Plantas pPiloto de tratamiento de agua.
1. Thickening Thickening is the first stage in sludge treatment as it is impractical to handle fine sludge. Usually, thickening is accomplished in a tank known as a gravity thickener. However, a gravity thickener can minimize the sludge’s total volume to less than half the initial volume. A substitute for gravity thickening is dissolved-air flotation. Here, air bubbles take the solids to the surface, where a thickened sludge layer is formed.
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2. Digestion After piling up all the solids from the wastewater, sludge begins the process of sludge digestion. Digestion is a biological method in which the organic solids in the sludge are decomposed into static substances. However, this process also helps minimize the overall mass of solids while eliminating any present pathogens to allow easy dewatering.
The digestion process is a 2-phase process. In the first step, the dried solid sludge is heated & mixed in a closed tank to allow anaerobic digestion by acid-generating bacteria. Further, these bacteria hydrolyze the bigger molecules of lipids & proteins present in the sludge & break them down into small water-soluble molecules, which the bacteria then ferment into different fatty acids.
Later, the sludge flows into the 2nd tank, where it’s converted by other bacteria to generate a mixture of methane & CO2 (carbon dioxide), after which the methane is collected & reused to energize the digestion tank & generate power.
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3. Dewatering After recovering valuable gases & other by-products, the left-over sludge is then dewatered before end disposal. Generally, dewatered sludge contains a substantial amount of water, around 70 percent, despite its solidified state. So, it’s crucial to dry & dewater the sludge earlier.
While utilizing sludge-drying beds is the most usual way to carry out this method, it’s highly time-consuming & might take weeks before the method is complete. To fasten these methods, sewage management plans are hiring solid-liquid separation appliances to carry out this method.
Moreover, centrifugation is gradually becoming one of the most favored methods of dewatering. Bypassing the sludge thru a centrifuge, it becomes simpler to retrieve all the water & enable simpler handling of the solid litter in shorter durations at cheaper costs. Other alternatives involve the rotary drum vacuum filter & the belt filter press.
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4. Disposal The last destination of treated waste sludge is the land mostly. Dewatered sludge can be concealed underground in a sanitary landfill. It can also be spread on agricultural land to use its value as a fertilizer & soil conditioner. Since sludge might contain harmful industrial chemicals, it’s not spread on the ground where crops are harvested.
When a suitable place for land disposal is not accessible, as, in urban regions, sludge can be incinerated, incineration evaporates the moisture & turns the organic solids into plain ash. The ash should be disposed of, but the minimized volume makes disposal more efficient. Control of air pollution is a very crucial consideration when wastewater sludge is incinerated. Proper air-cleaning devices like scrubbers & filters should be used.
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In summary, a combination of these methods makes wastewater treatment plant a sustainable long & short-term solution to the water crisis the world is facing today. However, it’s estimated that the world’s population will increase to nine billion people, which would only cause a rise in the amount of water that needs treatment. At the same time, this will cause the production of significant amounts of usable freshwater, thus helping fight water scarcity.
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