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Title: A study of the effect of substrate composition on the microbial ecology of activated sludge
Author: Noble, Raymond A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3448 0688
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 1997
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Eighty percent of all biologically treated waste waters in Europe are oxidised by the activated sludge process. Bulking sludge caused by the proliferation of filamentous organisms is the primary cause of failure of this system. The effect of various substrates in both laboratory scale, fully mixed and sequencing batch (SBR) reactor configurations were used to assess their combined effect on activated sludge microbial ecology and hence sludge settlement. Five different substrate types were used ; synthetic sewage, a basic monosaccharide, disaccharides, polysaccharides and amino acids. In all cases using the fully mixed reactor, bulking occurred while, good settling sludge was produced in the sequencing batch reactor. The cause of this bulking was deemed to be due to the lack of so called "selector effect" within the fully mixed reactor characterised by :- i) high rates of substrate consumption ii) high oxygen (or generally: electron acceptor) up take rate iii) enhanced growth of zoogleal bacteria iv) increased metabolic diversity This laboratory work was compared and contrasted with a pure oxygen activated sludge (VITOX) system treating a high strength pea processing waste water. This fully mixed system had proved difficult to operate since its installation and in the first two years of this study suffered bulking caused by low dissolved oxygen levels. In the third year a combination of a hydraulic problem and subsequent lack of control led to filamentous bulking. This particular bulking incident was controlled by the addition of chlorine to the aeration tank which was selectively toxic to the filamentous organisms present. Due to the studies carried out at both laboratory and full scale an initial contact zone was installed within the main aeration tank prior to the 4th year of this study so as to create an area of high floc loading and high substrate uptake. This initial anoxic contact zone proved successful in preventing the development of a poorly settling sludge and is in line with common practice for the elimination of filamentous bulking reported in the literature. Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) proved a reliable and appropriate monitor of conditions of low to zero D.O. experienced in the laboratory scale reactors and at full scale in the anoxic contact zone. It was also found that ORP could be used to detect when D.O. levels became completely depleted and monitor reductions in nitrate levels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Waste water management