Publication Details

Semblante, G., Hai, F. Ibney., Ngo, H. H., Guo, W., You, S., Price, W. E. & Nghiem, L. D. (2014). Sludge cycling between aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic regimes to reduce sludge production during wastewater treatment: Performance, mechanisms, and implications. Bioresource Technology, 155 (March), 395-409.


Alternate cycling of sludge in aerobic, anoxic, and anaerobic regimes is a promising strategy that can reduce the sludge yield of conventional activated sludge (CAS) by up to 50% with potentially lower capital and operating cost than physical- and/or chemical-based sludge minimisation techniques. The mechanisms responsible for reducing sludge yield include alterations to cellular metabolism and feeding behaviour (metabolic uncoupling, feasting/fasting, and endogenous decay), biological floc destruction, and predation on bacteria by higher organisms. Though discrepancies across various studies are recognisable, it is apparent that sludge retention time, oxygen-reduction potential of the anaerobic tank, temperature, sludge return ratio and loading mode are relevant to sludge minimisation by sludge cycling approaches. The impact of sludge minimisation on CAS operation (e.g., organics and nutrient removal efficiency and sludge settleability) is highlighted, and key areas requiring further research are also identified.



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