Synergetic pre-treatment of waste activated sludge by hydrodynamic cavitation combined with Fenton reaction for enhanced dewatering

The dewatering of waste activated sludge by integrated hydrodynamic cavitation (HC) and Fenton reaction was explored in this study. The authors first investigated the effects of initial pH, sludge concentration, flow rate, and H2O2 concentration on the sludge dewaterability represented by water content, capillary suction time and specific resistance to filtration. The results of dewatering tests showed that acidic pH and low sludge concentration were favourable to improve dewatering performance in the HC/Fenton system, whereas optimal flow rate and H2O2 concentration applied depended on the system operation. To reveal the synergism of HC/Fenton treatment, a suite of analysis was implemented: three-dimensional excitation emission matrix (3-DEEM) spectra of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) such as proteins and polysaccharides, zeta potential and particle size of sludge flocs, and SEM/TEM imaging of sludge morphology. The characterisation results indicate a three-step mechanism, namely HC fracture of different EPS in sludge flocs, Fenton oxidation of the released EPS, and Fe(III) re-flocculation, that is responsible for the synergistically enhanced sludge dewatering. Results of current study provide a basis to improve our understanding on the sludge dewatering performance by HC/Fenton treatment and possible scale-up of the technology for use in wastewater treatment plants.

Authors: Cai M, Hu J, Lian G, Xiao R, Song Z, Jin M, Dong C, Wang Q, Luo D, Wei Z. ; Full Source: Ultrasonics Sonochemistry. 2018 Apr; 42:609-618. doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2017.11.046. Epub 2017 Dec 2.

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