The effect of anoxic selectors on the control of activated sludge bulking and foaming
Mangrum, Carl Robert Lawrence II
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Laboratory scale activated sludge experiments were conducted on primary effluent municipal wastewater to evaluate the effects of anoxic selectors on controlling activated sludge bulking and foaming. These experiments were conducted with two pilot plants; a three stage anoxic selector preceding a complete mix system (experimental unit) and a complete mix system (control unit). Successful selector operation requires balancing two conflicting requirements; obtain a high substrate concentration in the selector while achieving a high substrate removal efficiency in the selector. The high substrate concentration enables rapid substrate uptake to occur predominately by floc forming microorganisms while the high substrate removal efficiency ensures that a feed-starve cycle is created whereby filamentous microorganisms are selected against. The reported metabolic mechanisms responsible for substrate uptake in the selector are the formation of internal storage products and high rate metabolism. As presented by Jenkins et al., (1993) small amounts of substrate are oxidized in the selector during the formation of internal storage products. Hence, large quantities of substrate can be removed while reducing only small amounts of the terminal electron acceptor. The internal stores are metabolized in the main biological reactor only after the exogenous substrate has been exhausted. High rate metabolism in the selector results in larger amounts of substrate oxidation. Consequently, for successful selector operation large quantities of the terminal electron acceptor must be reduced. The anoxic selector pilot unit successfully reduced activated sludge settleability and biological foams relative to the control unit. Results from this study indicate that the mode of substrate removal was influenced by the initial selector floc load. This is in general agreement with the findings by Goel and Gaudy (1968) and Gaudy and Gaudy (1988) on oxidative assimilation in activated sludge treatment. The floc load depicts the instantaneous organic loading in the selector irrespective of hydraulic retention time. Results from this study further indicate that for lower floc loadings substrate storage is predominate. Alternatively, at higher floc loadings high rate substrate metabolism is predominate. Therefore, it is hypothesized that for selector zones with high enough F/M ratios to promote rapid substrate uptake, the mechanism predominately responsible for substrate removal is influenced by the floc loading.
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