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Sewage sludge produced during wastewater treatment contains very little solids quantities. In order to
enable an economically and technically sensible operation of down-stream treatment processes a solids GERMAN
concentration accompanied by a volume reduction is indispensable. Therefore, thickening of sewage slud-
ge is one of the most important basic operations of sludge treatment. It is the easiest and cheapest way to
concentrate solids and to separate solids and liquids during the sludge treatment process. Sludge thicke-
ning is used at virtually every wastewater treatment plant.
DWA Rules and Standards
This Advisory Leaflet first and foremost addresses treatment plant operators as well as planning and opera-
ting engineers and technicians and gives recommendations for the dimensioning, realisation and economic
operation of aggregates for the thickening of municipal sludge. The Advisory Leaflet presents current know-
ledge on process fundamentals and process technology of the various thickening processes and informs
about operating experiences and costs of technically well-established processes.

Advisory Leaflet DWA-M 381E


Sewage Sludge Thickening

October 2007

Eindickung von Klrschlamm

ISBN 978-3-941897-43-4

Deutsche Vereinigung fr Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V.


German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste
Theodor-Heuss-Allee 17 53773 Hennef Germany
Tel.: +49 2242 872-333 Fax: +49 2242 872-100 German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste
E-Mail: kundenzentrum@dwa.de Internet: www.dwa.de Deutsche Vereinigung fr Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V.
DWA-M 381E

The German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) is intensively involved with the development of reliable and
sustainable water management. Being a politically and economically independent organisation it operates specifically in the
areas of water management, wastewater, waste and soil protection.

In Europe the DWA is the association in this field with the greatest number of members and, due to its specialist competence
it holds a special position with regard to standardisation, professional training and information of the public. The members,
approximately 14,000 represent specialists and managers from municipalities, universities, consulting engineers, authorities
and businesses.

Imprint
Publisher and marketing: Translation:
DWA German Association for CLAUDIA MAYERL, Braunschweig
Water, Wastewater and Waste Printing (English version):
Theodor-Heuss-Allee 17 DWA
53773 Hennef, Germany
Tel.: +49 2242 872-333 ISBN:
Fax: +49 2242 872-100 978-3-941897-43-4
E-Mail: kundenzentrum@dwa.de
Internet: www.dwa.de Printed on 100 % recycled paper

DWA Deutsche Vereinigung fr Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V., Hennef 2010
German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste

All rights, in particular those of translation into other languages, are reserved. No part of this Advisory Leaflet may be reproduced in any
form by photocopy, digitalisation or any other process or transferred into a language usable in machines, in particular data processing
machines, without the written approval of the publisher.

2 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

Foreword
Thickening of sewage sludge is one of the most important basic treatment steps of the entire sludge treatment process.
For decades thickening of sewage sludge has been accomplished by using either gravity settling in thickeners or in a
flotation unit or by mechanical thickening. Flotation and mechanical thickening processes are almost solely used for the
thickening of waste activated sludge. In 1998 the former ATV Sub-Committee 3.2 "Stabilisation, Disinfection, Thicken-
ing, Dewatering and Conditioning of Sewage Sludges" presented the working report "Thickening of Sewage Sludge" [8].
The various procedures and their efficiency and cost-effectiveness have been updated and are now presented in this
Advisory Leaflet.

The DWA Sub-Committee AK-2 and its Working Group AK-2.4 have elaborated this Advisory Leaflet taking into consid-
eration the current state of science and technology, relevant legislation, and essential operational requirements. Thus a
guideline related to practice has been established.

This DWA Advisory Leaflet first and foremost addresses practicing professionals at wastewater treatment plants as well
as planning and operating engineers and technicians.

Authors
This Advisory Leaflet has been elaborated by the DWA Working Group AK-2.4 "Thickening and Dewatering" on behalf of
and with the assistance of the Sub-Committee AK-2 "Stabilisation, Disinfection, Conditioning, Thickening and Dewater-
ing of Sewage Sludge".

Members of the Working Group AK-2.4:


BISCHOF, Fredy Dr.-Ing., Essen
BLEI, Peter Dipl.-Ing., Ludwigshafen
DENKERT, Ralf Dr.-Ing., Bochum (Spokesperson)
WOLF, Siegfried Dipl.-Ing., Ottobrunn

Members of the Sub-Committee AK-2:


BISCHOF, Fredy Dr.-Ing., Essen
BLEI, Peter Dipl.-Ing., Ludwigshafen
DENKERT, Ralf Dr.-Ing., Bochum
EVERS, Peter Dr.-Ing., Essen
GLASENAPP, Joachim Dr.-Ing., Hamburg
KOPP, Julia Dr.-Ing., Lengede
LOLL, Ulrich Dr.-Ing., Darmstadt (Chairman)
MELSA, Armin Prof. Dr.-Ing. E. h., Viersen (Vice chairman)
WOLF, Siegfried Dipl.-Ing., Ottobrunn

Project organizer within the DWA Head Office:


REIFENSTUHL, Reinhard Dipl.-Ing., Hennef
Water Resources, Waste Management and Land Improvement

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DWA-M 381E

Content
Foreword ................................................................................................................................................................ 3

Authors ................................................................................................................................................................ 3

Content ................................................................................................................................................................ 4

List of Figures ........................................................................................................................................................... 5

List of Tables ............................................................................................................................................................ 5

User Notes ................................................................................................................................................................ 6

1 Scope....................................................................................................................................................... 6

2 Terms and Definitions............................................................................................................................ 6


2.1 Definitions and Basic Information ............................................................................................................ 6
2.1.1 Sewage Sludge ......................................................................................................................................... 6
2.1.2 Sludge ...................................................................................................................................................... 6
2.1.3 Mixed Primary Sludge .............................................................................................................................. 7
2.1.4 Raw Sludge .............................................................................................................................................. 7
2.1.5 Thickened Sludge..................................................................................................................................... 7
2.1.6 Sludge Liquor ........................................................................................................................................... 7
2.1.7 Sludge Conditioning ................................................................................................................................ 7
2.1.8 Flocculants (Polymers) ............................................................................................................................. 7
2.1.9 Solids Content .......................................................................................................................................... 7
2.1.10 Degree of Separation................................................................................................................................ 7
2.1.11 Water Content.......................................................................................................................................... 8
2.1.11 Water Binding Capacity ........................................................................................................................... 8
2.1.13 Sewage Sludge Parameters ...................................................................................................................... 9
2.2 Abbreviations and Symbols ...................................................................................................................... 9

3 Application Area for Thickening............................................................................................................ 10


3.1 Statistical Evaluation of Thickening Processes.......................................................................................... 11
3.2 Change in Rheological Sludge Characteristics .......................................................................................... 11

4 Thickening Processes ............................................................................................................................. 13


4.1 Gravity Thickening ................................................................................................................................... 13
4.1.1 Gravity Thickening Batch Operation...................................................................................................... 13
4.1.2 Gravity Thickening Continuous Operation ............................................................................................ 14
4.1.2.1 Measurement of the Sludge Interface ....................................................................................................... 17
4.1.3 Thickening Using Flotation Processes ....................................................................................................... 17
4.2 Mechanical Thickening Using Natural Gravity.......................................................................................... 20
4.2.1 Basic Principles, Designs .......................................................................................................................... 20
4.2.2 Construction, Control Options.................................................................................................................. 20
4.2.2.1 Rotary Drum Screens Thickeners ............................................................................................................. 21
4.2.2.2 Rotary Screw Thickeners .......................................................................................................................... 22
4.2.2.3 Belt Thickeners ........................................................................................................................................ 22
4.2.2.4 Disk Thickeners ........................................................................................................................................ 23
4.2.2.5 Thickening Pumps .................................................................................................................................... 24
4.3 Mechanical Thickening Using Artificial Gravity ........................................................................................ 25
4.3.1 Centrifuges Construction and Control Options ...................................................................................... 25
4.3.2 Further Developments in Machine Technology ........................................................................................ 27

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5 Performance Data of Various Thickening Processes ............................................................................ 27


5.1 Application Ranges .................................................................................................................................. 27
5.2 Thickening Results and their Dependencies ............................................................................................. 27
5.3 Experiences and Recommendations ......................................................................................................... 28
5.4 Future Developments ............................................................................................................................... 29

6 Effects of Various Thickening Processes on Other Treatment Steps ................................................... 30


6.1 Effects on Downstream Treatment Steps .................................................................................................. 30
6.1.1 Direct Effects ............................................................................................................................................ 30
6.1.2 Indirect Effects ......................................................................................................................................... 30
6.2 Effects on Upstream Treatment Steps....................................................................................................... 31
6.3 Application of Polymeric Flocculants for Sludge Thickening .................................................................... 32
6.4 Sludge Liquor Treatment ......................................................................................................................... 32

7 Costs for Waste Activated Sludge Thickening....................................................................................... 32

8 Summary................................................................................................................................................. 34

Literature ................................................................................................................................................................ 35

List of Figures
Figure 1: Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to the number of wastewater treatment plants ............ 11
Figure 2: Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to population equivalents (PE) .................................... 12
Figure 3: Influence of solids content and temperature on the viscosity (apparent viscosity) of primary
and waste activated sludge ...................................................................................................................... 12
Figure 4: Batch operated gravity thickener (example) ............................................................................................ 14
Figure 5: Continuous-flow gravity thickener (example) .......................................................................................... 15
Figure 6: Settling zones of the thickening process ................................................................................................... 16
Figure 7: Mathematically released air quantity in dependency on temperature and differential pressure ............... 18
Figure 8: Schematic diagram of a dissolved air flotation system in a rectangular tank, recycle stream process ....... 19
Figure 9: Schematic diagram of a rotary drum screen ............................................................................................. 20
Figure 10: Schematic drawing of a rotary screw thickener ........................................................................................ 22
Figure 11: Schematic drawing of a belt thickener ..................................................................................................... 23
Figure 12: Schematic drawing of a disk thickener ..................................................................................................... 24
Figure 13: Schematic drawing of a thickening pump ................................................................................................ 25
Figure 14: Schematic drawing of a counter-current thickening centrifuge ................................................................ 26
Figure 15: Specific annual (net) costs of waste activated sludge thickening.............................................................. 33

List of Tables
Table 1: Dimensioning parameters for continuous-flow gravity thickeners ............................................................ 16
Table 2: Operating and dimensioning data for existing dissolved air flotation systems .......................................... 19
Table 3: Manufactured sizes of rotary drum screens .............................................................................................. 21
Table 4: Manufactured sizes of rotary screw thickeners ......................................................................................... 21
Table 5: Manufactured sizes of belt thickeners ..................................................................................................... 23
Table 6: Manufactured sizes of disk thickeners ...................................................................................................... 24
Table 7: Manufactured sizes of thickening pumps ................................................................................................. 24
Table 8: Manufactured size of thickening centrifuges ............................................................................................ 26
Table 9: Total solids content in the discharge [% TS], spec. flocculant demand and spec. energy
demand of various thickening processes .................................................................................................. 28
Table 10: Cost factors for comparing economic efficiency........................................................................................ 33

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User Notes
This Advisory Leaflet has been produced by a group of technical, scientific and economic experts, working in an honor-
ary capacity and applying the rules and procedures of the DWA and the Standard ATV-DVWK-A 400. Based on judicial
precedent, there exists an actual presumption that this document is textually and technically correct.

Any party is free to make use of this Advisory Leaflet. However, the application of its contents may also be made an
obligation under the terms of legal or administrative regulations, or of a contract, or for some other legal reason.

This Advisory Leaflet is an important, but not the sole, source of information for solutions to technical problems.
Applying information given here does not relieve the user of responsibility for his own actions or for correctly apply-
ing this information in specific cases. This holds true in particular when it comes to respecting the margins laid down
in this Advisory Leaflet.

1 Scope 2 Terms and Definitions


Thickening of sewage sludge is one of the most impor- This Advisory Leaflet refers to the definition of terms of
tant basic operations of sludge treatment. It is the easi- DIN 4045 (August 2003), DIN EN 1085 (May 2007),
est and cheapest way to concentrate solids and to sepa- DIN EN 12832 (November 1999) as well as DIN EN
rate solids and liquids during sludge treatment. Sludge 12255-8 (October 2001). The following especially rele-
thickening is used at virtually every wastewater treat- vant terms are explained separately in addition to the
ment plant. above-mentioned DIN standards.

A growing interest in process optimization of sludge Authors Note: In addition, in the English translation
thickening, and management and treatment of resulting defined terms according to the Standard Methods for
process waters, can be observed. This growing interest is the Examination of Water and Wastewater (16th Edi-
last but not least due to cost pressure faced by treatment tion, American Public Health Association, American
plant operators. Water Works Association, Water Environment Federa-
tion, Washington DC, 1985) have been used.
This Advisory Leaflet presents recommendations for
dimensioning, installation and cost-efficient operation of
treatment units for municipal sludge thickening and 2.1 Definitions and Basic Information
addresses operators of wastewater treatment plants as
well as consulting engineers. It summarizes current
knowledge on principles and technologies of various 2.1.1 Sewage Sludge
thickening procedures and considers operational experi-
ences as well as costs of technically well-established Sludge produced during wastewater (sewage) treatment
treatment processes. (DIN EN 12832 [3]).

The main focus is on sludge thickening procedures Note: Sewage sludges mainly consist of a solid and a
which are commonly used at municipal wastewater liquid fraction and are thus suspensions.
treatment plants. Information and recommendations of
this Advisory Leaflet, however, to a large extent can be
used accordingly for the treatment of other sludges, e.g. 2.1.2 Sludge
sludges produced during drinking water treatment (see
[20]) or during industrial wastewater treatment. Then it Mixture of water and solids separated from various types
is above all the responsibility of the user to verify trans- of water as a result of natural or artificial processes (DIN
ferability of given recommendations in regard to special EN 1085 [2], DIN 4045 [1], DIN EN 12880 [5]).
characteristics of each individual sludge and in regard to
impacts on dimensioning and operation of the plant. Note: The objective of thickening is the accumulation of
the solid fraction (volume reduction by water removal)
in the sludge. In technical terminology the solid fraction
of sludge is generally called solids, suspended solids,
total solids or solids content.

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2.1.3 Mixed Primary Sludge the digester) or of the sludge discharged from a gravity
thickener or a mechanical thickener is analysed as total
Sludge removed from primary treatment which con- solids concentration (% TS) of the unfiltered total sam-
tains other sludges, e.g. waste activated sludge (DIN ple according to DIN EN 12880 [5].
EN 1085 [2]).
At wastewater treatment plants with a strong industrial
influence, a possibly high concentration of dissolved
2.1.4 Raw Sludge salts (e.g. chloride) shall be taken into consideration.
The weight-related analysis of total solids determined
Non-stabilised sludge (DIN EN 1085 [2]) from the unfiltered sample also contains salts, while the
analysis of the concentration of total suspended solids
does not contain salts due to prior filtration of the
2.1.5 Thickened Sludge wastewater. In extreme situations, the salt content may
cause differences in concentration of 2 gTSS/l to
Sludge which has been treated using a thickening process 3 gTSS/l when analysing total suspended solids and
total solids. These differences shall be taken into consid-
eration when calculating solids-related specific floccu-
2.1.6 Sludge Liquor lant demand and the degree of separation. They also
shall be considered when analysing organic solids con-
Liquor separated from sludge (DIN EN 1085 [2]). tent and when determining the corresponding solids-
related total volatile solids. Furthermore, a high salt
Note: Depending on the treatment process used, sludge concentration may significantly affect the activity of the
liquor is also called e.g. supernatant liquor (thickener), flocculants used for sludge conditioning. Thus, floccula-
centrate (centrifuge) or filtrate (filtering processes). tion agent demand may rise considerably. In wastewater
treatment technology, salt concentration can be esti-
mated using the parameter electrical conductivity.
2.1.7 Sludge Conditioning
In order to prevent disagreements, analytical methods
Physical, chemical, thermal or other sludge treatment and evaluations shall be defined in detail for operational
processes for improving thickening behaviour and de- tests or for the invitation of tenders.
waterability (DIN EN 1085 [2])

2.1.10 Degree of Separation


2.1.8 Flocculants (Polymers)
Ratio of mass separated in a separation process to the
The term polymer is used as a synonym for synthetic introduced mass of a substance (DIN EN 1085 [2]).
organic flocculants (also called flocculation agents FA)
in this Advisory Leaflet. Information on the selection and
For simplification, the solids-related degree of separa-
application of organic flocculants is given in [11].
tion of a gravity thickener or a mechanical thickening
device is calculated by converting the total solids con-
tent in % TS to gTSS/l by multiplication with a factor of
2.1.9 Solids Content
10 (1 % TS = 10 gTSS/l) without regarding the differ-
For determination of the solids content, the total solids ences in density.
concentration (% TS) and the concentration of total
suspended solids (gTSS/l) are analysed according to Calculation of the solids-related degree of separation:
DIN EN 12880 [5].
(TSSIn TSSCe) TSSDis
For "thin" liquid sludges (e.g. activated sludge or waste = 100 [%] (1)
activated sludge from the aeration tank) the concentra- (TSSDis TSSCe) TSSIn
tion of total suspended solids (gTSS/l) is to be analysed
from the filtered sample (paper filterblack ribbon filter
with approx. 20 m pore size). The same analysis is
[%] Solids-related degree of separation
normally used for supernatant liquor from a gravity
thickener as well as for centrate or filtrate from me-
chanical thickeners. In special cases, the supernatant TSSIn [gTSS/l] Influent total suspended solids
liquor/filtrate/centrate can be filtered using a filter with
0,45 m pore size. However, the results of the TSS TSSCe [gTSS/l] Centrate/filtrate total suspended solids
analysis of sludge and wastewater with different pore
sizes of the filters cannot be compared. The solids con-
tent of a pre-thickened sludge (e.g. primary sludge from TSSDis [gTSS/l] Solids content of sludge discharge
the primary sedimentation tank or digested sludge from

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DWA-M 381E

2.1.11 Water Content


Before thickening, the water content of sewage sludges The high water content leads to large sludge volumes,
varies between approx. 96 % and 99,5 % depending on which cause difficulties and technical problems in the
their origin. The reason for the high water content of various processes of sludge treatment and increases
sewage sludges and the correspondingly required tech- constructional, mechanical, and operational expenses
nical effort for sludge thickening is the high water bind- significantly.
ing capacity of sewage sludges. The various types of
water in sewage sludge are distinguished by type and The respective quantity of water types and especially the
intensity of their physical bonding to the solids. intramolecular attraction (electrostatic and van der
Waals forces) strongly depend on the following factors:
Five different types of water can be distinguished in a
sludge suspension according to their physical bonding to Particle size distribution, since very small particles
the solids: have a large specific surface area and thus strong
binding forces
Free water, not bound to particles
Organic constituents, which have a very large specific
Interstitial water, bound by capillary forces between surface area
the particles of a sludge floc
Colloidal and gel-like constituents, which especially
Surface water, bound by adhesive forces are present in organic waste activated sludges and in
Intracellular water, including cell water and internal hydroxide sludges as well as in sludges from phos-
capillary water phate precipitation

Chemically bound water also called water of crystal- Percentage of filamentous microorganisms (e. g. Mi-
lisation (hydration water), bound by ionic bonds crothrix parvicella) because of their hydrophobic (wa-
ter-repellent) characteristics
The free water content represents the largest part of Percentage of EPS (extracellular polymeric substances,
water in a sludge suspension. Free water moves freely largely long-chain polysaccharide (carbohydrate) and
between the sludge particles, is not adsorbed by them, protein compounds) because of their slimy/viscous
not bound to them and is not affected by capillary characteristics
forces. This type of water can be separated by gravity or
mechanically by e.g. centrifugal forces or filtration. All During biological wastewater treatment und during
other types of water in general can only be separated sludge stabilization above all the fraction of colloidal
using thermal treatment processes. Advanced treatment and gel-like constituents with the exception of EPS is
methods such as conditioning or altering of the sludge reduced by degradation of organic substances.
structure (e.g. disintegration, chemical acid/base treat-
ment, hydrolysis processes) can change or shift the distri- According to their characteristics especially in regard
bution of the types of water.
to their water binding capacity sludges are generally
classified into three groups:
2.1.12 Water Binding Capacity
1. Easily thickenable/dewaterable sludges
According to recent investigations and studies, it must be Sludges with larger fractions of mineral substances
assumed that a significant amount of water in sewage (also from combined sewer systems) such as e.g. fine
sludge is bound in the form of gels (so-called hydrogels) sands.
[25]. Gel-forming substances can be found in aerobically
as well as anaerobically produced sludges. Especially 2. Averagely thickenable/dewaterable sludges
carbohydrates and proteins are among these gel-forming Typical primary sludges or digested sludges without
substances. These substances can be introduced into the noteworthy industrial fractions or gel-like sub-
sludge either with the inflowing wastewater or can be stances.
produced by wastewater bacteria (EPS). The existence of
these substances and their special characteristics in regard 3. Hardly thickenable/dewaterable sludges
to water binding capacity and their consequences for Activated sludge from the biological treatment step,
thickening and dewatering have been demonstrated in trickling filter sludge, hydroxide sludges from elec-
[31]. In their water-soluble form, polysaccharides and troplating plants or pickling plants, phosphate pre-
proteins have hydrogel structures, which may alter their cipitation sludges with a -value (mol precipi-
water binding behaviour under the following influences: tant/mol phosphorus) significantly above 1,5.
pH-value, temperature, salt content. A precise clarification
of this type of water binding force and its influence on the
thickening behaviour and dewaterability of sewage sludge
is left to be accomplished in future research work.

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2.1.13 Sewage Sludge Parameters


Abbreviations Unit Explanation
Sewage sludge parameters are used to describe the
thickening and dewatering behaviour of sewage sludge. English German
Numerous parameters can be found in literature and are
published in the ATV working report "Entwsserungs- HS HS m Depth of the sludge zone
kennwerte" (Dewatering Parameters) [9]. In the last
years, progress has been made in regard to practical Depth of the supernatant
HW HW m
development and description of sludge parameters [27]. (clear water) zone
The results of this work are summarized and evaluated
by the DWA working group AK/AG 1.4 "Klrschlamm- I E - Inhabitant/per capita
kennwerte (Sewage Sludge Parameters) (founded in
L F - Load
2003) and will be published in the new DWA Advisory
Leaflet M 383. It is recommended to define and use LFT LFB m Flotation tank length
capacity-related sludge parameters in tenders or for
performance certificates of machinery. PE EW I Population equivalent

pH pH - pH-value
2.2 Abbreviations and Symbols
PAM PAA - Polyacrylamide
Abbreviations Unit Explanation PS PS - Primary sludge

English German PT - Precipitant

m/
Polymeric active substance qA qA Surface loading rate
(mh)
AS WS - for calculating flocculant
demand Qair L l/m Air quantity
Surface area of the Qair/TSS LTS l/m Specific air feed
Athickener AE m
thickener
QS QS m/h Sludge quantity
CFR k - Capital recovery factor
TSA kgTSS/
D D m Diameter SLR Solids loading rate
(BA) (md)
Dair DL m Mean size of air bubbles ml/g
SVI ISV Sludge volume index
or l/kg
DFT DFB m Flotation tank diameter
T T C Temperature
DS FS - Digested sludge
td tA d detention time
mS/cm
EC LF Electrical conductivity
or S/m Total solids
TS TR % (content/concentration)
Exopolymeric substances
(g TS/kg sludge sample)
EPS- EPS- or extracellular polymeric
mg/kg
content Gehalt substance
Total suspended solids
(proteins, polysaccharide) TSS0,45 AFS kg/m (filtered with filter paper
0,45 m)
Flocculant/flocculation
FA FHM -
agent
Total suspended solids
kg/m
Total height of the TSS TS (filtered with filter paper
g/l approx. 20 m)
H H m continuous flow thickener
(H= HW + HS + HR)
Influent total suspended
TSSIn TSZu gTSS/l
hFT hFB m Flotation tank depth solids

HR HR m
Depth of the raking zone, TSSCe TSZe gTSS/l Centrate/filtrate total
height of the scraper blade suspended solids

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DWA-M 381E

Abbreviations Unit Explanation 3 Application Area


for Thickening
English German
Sewage sludge produced during wastewater treatment
Solids content of sludge in general contains a lot of water and little solids' quan-
TSSDis TSAus gTSS/l
discharge tities. Therefore a solids concentration accompanied by a
volume reduction is advantageous for all following
Total volatile solids operations of sludge treatment. Without extensive
TVS (loss on ignition) thickening, no down-stream treatment process can be
GV % operated economically.
VSS TVS from TS
VVS from TSS
The primary objective of sludge thickening is the reduc-
WAS S - Waste activated sludge tion of the volume of the produced sewage sludge. As
secondary objective, this volume reduction has positive
Wastewater treatment effects on the following treatment steps since treatment
WWTP ABA -
plant processes are stabilised. Volume reduction enables opti-
misation of construction and operating costs. If a gravity
* * mPas Apparent viscosity thickener is in operation, the sedimentation tank should
not be used as a storage or equalising tank for sewage
Solids-related degree of sludge, since this may have a strong negative impact on
%
separation the thickening result.

- Difference The main application of volume reduction is the thicken-


ing of primary and secondary sludges prior to sludge
Spec. phosphate
stabilisation. Gravity thickening of stabilised sludge, e.g.
-value -Wert - precipitant demand mol
digested sludge, is also used at wastewater treatment
metal/mol P
plants. This application of gravity thickening is not the
main focus of this Advisory Leaflet however it is men-
Note: A comma is used as a decimal sign
tioned at various points. If mixed primary sludge thick-
ening is used, the combined thickening of primary and
waste activated sludge in the primary sedimentation
Authors Note: The list of abbreviations and symbols in tank or in a gravity thickener often leads to solids con-
the English translation has been broadened in compari- centrations which are insufficient for an optimal opera-
son to the German version. tion of down-stream treatment steps. Furthermore, in
activated sludge systems with biological phosphorus
removal, the return flow of the waste activated sludge to
the primary sedimentation tank or to a thickener leads
to a significant redissolution of phosphorus. Also, a
hydrolysis of nitrogen and carbon compounds may occur
as well as the formation of hydrogen sulphide. These
factors can lead to a mass development of filamentous
bacteria in the activated sludge tank. Therefore, on
account of the different thickening behaviour and for the
prevention of operational problems, nowadays separate
gravity thickening of primary sludge in the primary
sedimentation tank or in a thickener is used, while
thickening of waste activated sludge is accomplished in
a separate mechanical thickening step. Mechanical
thickening processes can also be used for the thickening
of mixed primary sludge. The solids content in the thick-
ened sludge should be increased insofar that the degra-
dation process in the following stabilisation step is not
hampered and conveyance, agitation and heating are
not interfered with.

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3.1 Statistical Evaluation of Thickening 3.2 Change in Rheological Sludge


Processes Characteristics
The DWA collected data on sewage sludge in Germany for Rheological characteristics (flow characteristics) of sew-
the year 2003 [18], [24]. According to the last ascertain- age sludges are altered by thickening processes.
ment of the Federal Statistical Office in 2001, 10 188 Rheological characteristics are described by the measur-
municipal wastewater treatment plants exist in Germany. ing parameter apparent viscosity. Raw sludges and di-
About 6 600 treatment plants received questionnaires, of gested sludges are classified as non-Newtonian fluids,
which 3 100, i.e. approx. 47 %, were returned and evalu- since their viscosity changes in dependency on forces
ated. Thus about one third of all German wastewater exerted on the fluid. When evaluating flow behaviour,
treatment plants was included in the survey. The data one has to distinguish the various types of sludge such
collection covered approx. 99 million PE of 157 million PE as primary and secondary sludge, mixed primary and
treatment capacity (all information on PE numbers relates stabilised sludge.
to treatment plant capacity according to discharge per-
mits). This equals about two thirds of all population Viscosity experiments with activated sludges with solids
equivalents. Looking at these ratio numbers, it must be content between 2 gTSS/l and 8 gTSS/l showed no
assumed that a high number of large treatment plants significant deviation from pure water. Equally, no sig-
participated in the survey. The individual questions were nificant effects on the flow behaviour could be detected
evaluated generally using the number of wastewater for conventional gravity thickening of mixed primary
treatment plants (WWTP) as well as population equiva- sludge up to a total solids concentration of 2 % to 4 %
lents (PE). A comparison of the evaluation in regard to TS [21].
number of treatment plants and to capacity made it possi-
ble to make statements on the preferred use of certain Things are different for mechanical thickening of waste
treatment processes and machines. activated sludge, especially if centrifuges without the
addition of flocculants are used. Then apparent viscosity
In regard to thickening, the data collection only covers increases significantly [22]. Apparent viscosities for sepa-
pre-thickening of waste activated sludge. The results of rate gravity thickening of primary sludge and mechanical
the survey related to the number of treatment plants are thickening of waste activated sludge using centrifuges is
presented in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows results in relation shown in Figure 3 in dependency on solids content and
to treatment plant capacities (PE). temperature [21].

According to the survey 926 of 2 843 treatment plants


i.e. 32,6 % employ no thickening procedure, 44,1 % use
gravity thickening and approx. 20 % use mechanical thick-
eners (centrifuge, rotary drum screen thickener, belt thick-
eners).

In regard to the application of polymers for sludge condi-


tioning, it can be observed that according to the survey
polymers are used at 40 % of the treatment plants or for
59 % of the treatment capacity (liquid and solid products).

statisch
gravity+++
gravity
mechanical
maschinell
mechanical
gravity
statisch
gravity 2,6 %
44,1 %

centrifuge
Zentrifuge
centrifuge
4,7 %
rotary drum
screen thickener
drum thickener
Siebtrommel
9,6 %

belt thickener
thickener
Bandeindicker
belt
5,1 %
Figure 1:
flotation
flotation Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge,
none
keine
none Flotation
other
Sonstige
other 0,3 %
related to the number of wastewater treat-
32,6 %
0,9 % ment plants (WWTP);
data basis: 2 843 WWTP [24]

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 11


DWA-M 381E

keine
none
none
12 %
12
other
Sonstige
other gravity
gravity
statisch
1%
1 %
33 %
33

flotation
Flotation
flotation
5%
5

belt thickener
Bandeindicker
belt thickener
9%
9 gravity+++
statisch
gravity
mechanical
mechanical
maschinell
rotary drum 8%
drumSiebtrommel
screenthickener
thickener
15 %
15 centrifuge
Zentrifuge
centrifuge
17 %
17

Figure 2: Pre-thickening of waste activated sludge, related to population equivalents (PE)


Data basis: 97 million PE [24]

1500

berschuschlam m sludge,
waste activated , T = 10
berschussschlamm, T=TC
10 CC
10C
= 10
1250 berschuschlam m sludge,
, T = 20
berschussschlamm,
waste activated T=TC
20 CC
20
= 20C
[mPas]
scheinbare Viskositt * [mPas]
[mPas]

berschuschlam m sludge,
waste activated , T = 35
berschussschlamm, T=TC
35 CC
= 35C
30
mPas
(shear rate: D = 128 1/s)
1/s)

1000
Prim rschlam m , T =sludge,
primary 10 CT =
Primrschlamm, T 10 CC
10C
= 40
128
D =*

primary
m , T =sludge,
Primrschlamm,
Prim rschlam T 20
20 CT = = 20C
20
CC
viscosity

750
(Schergeflle

primary
m , T =sludge,
Primrschlamm,
Prim rschlam T 35
35 CT = 35
CC
= 35C
apparent

500
waste activated sludge
berschussschlam m
(thickening with
(Eindickung m it centrifuge)
Zentrifuge)
250
primary
Prim sludge
rschlam m

0
0,0
0,0
0.0 1,5
1,5
1.5 3,0
3,0
3.0 4,5
4,5
4.5 6,0
6.0 7,5
7,5
7.5
TS
TR [%]
[%]

Figure 3: Influence of solids content and temperature on the viscosity (apparent viscosity) of primary and waste
activated sludge [21]

Apparent viscosity is influenced by the percentage and In order to prevent operational problems, viscosity shall
the diameter of the smallest solid particles. Especially be taken into consideration for friction loss in pipes,
high-speed machinery (e. g. centrifugal pumps, centri- selection of pumps for the conveyance of thickened
fuges, macerators, disintegration devices) can increase sludge and for the design of agitation devices in sludge
the fraction of very fine particles in the sludge. In addi- stabilisation plants.
tion, [28] proves that apparent viscosity is also influ-
enced significantly by the fraction of extracellular poly-
meric substances (EPS). However, no significant
dependency between rheological characteristics and
organic solids content (TVS, loss on ignition) and parti-
cle size distribution could be detected [28].

12 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

Using computational fluid dynamics [30] thickeners can


4 Thickening Processes be dimensioned considerably more precise if necessary.
Adequate computer programmes are available for this.
However necessary time and effort are considerable, since
4.1 Gravity Thickening among other things grid spacing shall be adapted for each
construction and adequate models shall be selected for
Operating costs for gravity thickening are comparably low.
each individual case. The ratio of benefit and costs shall
Due to natural gravity, those solids with a density higher
be analysed carefully for each individual case.
than water will settle and will be consolidated and com-
pacted. During gravity thickening operated as a batch
process or a continuous-flow process two separate phases 4.1.1 Gravity Thickening
are produced in the thickener, a phase rich in solids
(thickened sludge) and a phase with little solids (sludge Batch Operation
liquor/supernatant liquor). It must be noted that the solids
concentration in the thickened sludge phase is not consis- Batch-operated gravity thickening is a simple discontinu-
tent over the whole depth of the phase. The highest solids ous process for thickening. Tanks of adequate size and
concentration will occur in the lowest sludge layer at the construction are filled with the sludge removed from the
bottom of the thickener. As an average value, 50 % to 75 wastewater treatment plant. Then the actual thickening
% of the maximum value can be assumed. process starts where solids accumulate in the lower part
of the thickener on account of sedimentation and consoli-
A certain amount of thickening is already achieved in dation. As a matter of principle, total solids concentration
the sludge collecting hoppers of the primary and secon- increases with depth. After the thickening process is com-
dary settling tanks. This fact, however, is not considered pleted, first supernatant is removed and then the thick-
in this Advisory Leaflet since the sludge collecting hop- ened sludge. There are applications where the removal
pers are normally not dimensioned for sludge thickening sequence is reversed (see below). Figure 4 shows an ex-
but for sludge storage. ample for a batch-operated gravity thickener.

Gravity thickeners are normally constructed from rein- The volume of a batch-operated gravity thickener equals
forced concrete or steel. Machinery equipment consists sludge production of one day plus a safety margin. Thick-
of sludge pumps, scrapers and supernatant removal eners which are not equipped with scrapers generally are
devices. Measuring and control technology is limited to emptied sufficiently at a floor slope above 60 degrees.
the measuring of the sludge content in the thickener and
the height of the sludge interface. Sludge feeding can be Equipment for the removal of supernatant liquor shall be
accomplished by lateral or central inlets. For reducing constructed in such a way that only relatively small
inflow velocity and for even distribution of the influent, solids concentrations are discharged with the super-
baffles, feed wells or other inflow systems can be in- natant. This can be achieved by using telescopic tubes,
stalled. The supernatant liquor is removed either using floating intake systems or cascade withdrawal systems.
fixed overflow sills or adjustable outlets. Outlets are
normally installed on the tank edges. In order to prevent Using turbidity measurements in the supernatant effluent,
uncontrolled discharge of floating scum to the effluent, supernatant removal can be automatised. Often, however,
normally scum boards are used. Fixed outlet systems are direct observation of the operating personnel is sufficient.
among others circular overflow weirs or overflow Since higher solids concentrations accumulate in the cone
troughs. The supernatant flows over them into an efflu- end of the thickener, homogenization of the thickened
ent channel or an effluent pipe. sludge using a mixer or a pump can be useful.

Gravity thickening is a relatively simple process in re-


gard to process technology and an operation on the
threshold between wastewater and sludge treatment.
Treatment results however are not always consistent and
not always reproducible. Generally this is due to the fact
that dimensioning of flow-through thickeners is done
according to relatively imprecise empirical values (sur-
face loading rate) and that the thickening process is
interfered by incipient digestion processes or convective
heat flow.

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 13


DWA-M 381E

influent
influent
distribution trough
distribution trough

floatingsupernatant
floating supernatant influent
influent
intake system
extraction distribution pipe
distribution pipe

supernatant
supernatant
dischargepipe
discharge pipe

sludgefeed
sludge feed
level measuring
level measuring sludge
sludge
discharge
discharge
flushingconnection
flushing connection

turbidity measuring
turbidity measuring
device
device

Figure 4: Batch operated gravity thickener (example)

If turbidity measuring devices are used to determine 4.1.2 Gravity Thickening Continuous
solids concentration, discharge of thickened solids can
also be accomplished before supernatant is removed.
Operation
Then homogenization of the thickened sludge is not
The process step of gravity thickening can also be oper-
possible and if discharge velocities are too high, the risk
ated as a continuous-flow process with continuous
of the formation of a cone of depression exists.
sludge feed, supernatant removal, and thickened sludge
discharge. Then the point for thickened sludge removal
Generally batch-operated gravity thickeners are dimen-
shall always be located at the point of highest solids
sioned according to the following parameters:
concentration the cone end. This is an advantage in
Daily sludge quantity comparison to batch-operated thickeners, where the
thickening concentration at maximum can equal mean
Number of thickeners results from the operating solids concentration of the sludge zone.
cycle, an optimal configuration allows for daily
change between filling thickening processing.
Unavoidable scum formation shall be counteracted by
adequate scum removal or flushing equipment or the
installation of scum boards should be dispensed with.
Scum shall be returned to an appropriate point in the
treatment system e.g. before the bar rack.

Continuous-flow gravity thickeners are equipped with a


scraper with vertical pickets as well as installa-
tions/devices for sludge feed and discharge and for
supernatant removal (Figure 5).

14 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

drive unit
unit
Rumerantrieb
drive
supernatant removal
Schlammwasserberlauf
supernatant removal Kontrollsteg
walkway
walkway
Einlaufzylinder
feed well
feed well

Zulauf
influent
influent

Schlammrumer
scraper
scraper with
with
mit Eindickstben
vertical
vertical pickets
pickets
Dickschlammentnahme
thickened
thickened sludge removal
sludge removal

Figure 5: Continuous-flow gravity thickener (example)

Continuous-flow gravity thickeners with mechanical The picket fence, which normally is equipped with vertical
sludge removal equipment have sloped floors, similar to pickets spaced in a distance of 30 to 50 cm and moves
round primary sedimentation tanks, with a slope of with the scraper blade, can open up channels for pore
possible more than 1,7 in 1 (according to DIN 19552 water to escape and can thus improve the settling process.
[6]) and a central sludge hopper. For the thickening of A time-break-control switch should be used to prevent
waste activated sludge mostly travelling bridge collec- that the entire sludge mass in the thickener is moved.
tors with an external drive and submersible scraper
blades, mounted on pulleys are used. For a flexible ap- In the sludge zone, which can be separated into the
plication, also for sludges with high thickening ability, sedimentation and the compression zone, the raking
scrapers with a central drive unit are to be preferred, zone is found directly above the floor of the thickener.
which are attached to a fixed concrete or steel bridge Here the thickened sludge is moved by the scraper blade
spanning the tank. For construction details DIN 19552 to the sludge hopper located directly under the centre
[6] is referred to. feed well. From there the sludge is withdrawn for fur-
ther treatment.
In general, continuous-flow gravity thickeners are fed
with sewage sludge using a centre feed well. Sludge
should be distributed as evenly as possible and should
be fed to the upper supernatant zone. The solids parti-
cles settle in the tank while the supernatant rises and is
discharged behind protruding scum boards if existent
to the circumferential effluent channel at the tank edge.

At increasing depth of the thickener, a continuous transi-


tion takes place from the supernatant zone to the sludge
zone where hindered settling of the solids occurs (see
Figure 6). Higher solids concentrations are achieved at
increasing depth until the compression pressure equals
pore water pressure.

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 15


DWA-M 381E

Thickeningbyby Concentration
Concentration - Pressure curves
Eindickung
Thickening Druckkurven
Pressure curves
increase
increase
zunahme
discrete
discrete
freies settling
settling
Absetzen
hindered settling
hindered settling

hydrost.
hydrost. overpressure
Hydrost.overpressure
berdruck
increased
Zunehmende
increased due
due to dissolved
to
durch dissolved substances
substances
gelste Stoffe
compression
compression
due
Abbauto decreased
due to decreased
der durch
due
due gelste und
to dissolved
to dissolved and
and
suspension
Suspension
suspension suspendierte
suspended Stoffe
substances
suspended substances

Mechanischer
mechanical
mechanical Druck
pressure
pressure

weight of
weight of dissolved
dissolved and
and
solid substances
Stoffesubstances
solid unter Wasserunderwater
under water
complete
volle mechanische
complete mechanical
mechanical
pressure
pressure transfer
transfer
Druckbertragung
%%
% TRTS
TR mbar

Figure 6: Settling zones of the thickening process [13]

Table 1: Dimensioning parameters for continuous-flow gravity thickeners

Solids loading rate SLR


Settling characteristics of the sludge Type of sludge
[kg TSS/(md)]
hardly settleable waste activated sludge 20 50
mixed primary sludge,
averagely settleable 40 80
digested sludge
primary sludge,
easily settleable mineral sludges, up to 100
non-digestible sludges

Blade angle, height, and arrangement of scraper blades If thickeners are very deep, very high total solids con-
as well as scraping velocity affect achievable solids con- tents can be achieved. However other sludge characteris-
tent of the thickened sludge. In order to prevent solids tics (incipient digestion, gas emission etc.) limit this
from sticking to the sides of the sludge hopper, the statement for digestible sludges. Table 1 shows typical
scraper can be equipped with an additional scraper dimensioning parameters for continuous-flow gravity
blade for the sludge hopper. thickeners.

If sludge characteristics are given, achievable solids When dimensioning continuous-flow gravity thickeners,
content depends on the following factors: the required surface Athickener [m] is calculated by the
added sludge quantity QS [m/h], the influent solids
The retention time in the sludge zone, which deter-
content TSSIN [kgTSS/m] and the solids loading rate
mines sedimentation and compression time. The
SLR [kgTSS/(md)] selected from Table 1.
pressure ratio in the sludge zone, which largely de-
pends on the density of the sludge particles and on
QS TSSIn
the height/depth of the sludge zone. Athickener [m] (2)
SLR
The use of additives/aids such as lime/iron products
The solids loading rate shall be smaller than the particle
or polymeric flocculation agents, whose effect on
settling velocity of the sludge solids. This is generally the
downstream treatment steps e.g. dewatering shall be
case, if solids loading rates from Table 1 are used.
taken into consideration.

16 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

The depth of the thickener is calculated by adding the Sensor measuring systems are in use, which detect the
depth of the raking zone, the sludge zone, and the super- sludge interface level according to the following methods:
natant zone. The depth of the sludge zone is especially
important, since it defines the solids retention time. For Generation, transmission and reception of ultra sound
raw sludges a detention time or mean cell residence time waves; the attenuation of the ultra sound waves, which
of no more than 1,5 days should be chosen, since other- is significantly higher in sludge, is measured.
wise formation of biogas interferes with the settling proc-
ess. For determining detention time and with it the vol- Generation, transmission and reception of visible (tur-
ume of the sludge zone, a mean solids content should be bidity measurement) or infrared light; light attenuation
used that amounts to about 75 % of the final solids con- due to absorption and diffusion, which is significantly
tent of the thickened sludge (at the discharge point in the higher in sludge, is measured.
cone end of the sludge hopper). The height of the sludge
zone HS [m] is calculated using the solids loading rate SLR Such sensor measuring systems have a transducer and a
[kgTSS/(m2d)], the solids content of the thickened receiver in a defined distance from each other. Sensors
sludge TSSthick [kgTSS/m3], and the detention time td [d] are installed below the surface of the supernatant above
of the sludge in the sludge zone: the sludge. Then the solids content of the sludge inter-
face is defined and the measuring signal is calibrated
SLR td accordingly.
HS [m] (3)
0,75 TSSthick
Fixed as well as moving sensors are used. A moving
A minimum height of 0,3 m or a height equal to the sensor is a turbidity measuring sensor attached to a
height of the scraper blade shall be assumed for the cable which is kept close to the sludge interface. If the
raking zone HR. For the supernatant zone a height HW of sludge interface rises or falls, the motor-driven measur-
about 1.0 m is necessary. The total height of the con- ing sensor moves along.
tinuous-flow gravity thickener thus amounts to
H = HW + HS + HR, measured at the outer circumfer- Measuring systems up to a measuring range of 30 m are
ence of the thickener. available. Measuring signals can be calibrated in a range
of ca. 0,3 % up to ca. 10 % total solids content in the
Also non-uniform influent and effluent flows to and sludge or in the suspension. Operational experience with
from the continuous-flow gravity thickener should not the various systems is not always positive. Thus, it is
considerably alter the selected detention time in the recommended, to conduct field tests on location before
sludge zone, since otherwise the achievable solids con- making a purchase decision. For optical measuring sys-
tent of the thickened sludge decreases. tems one shall pay attention to good cleaning options in
regard to possible interfering substances (e.g. grease)
Solids contents achieved in continuous-flow gravity contained in the sludge.
thickeners can vary greatly for different plants. This is
due to sludge characteristics, actual sludge quantities,
which may deviate from quantities assumed for dimen- 4.1.3 Thickening Using Flotation
sioning and last but not least to mode of operation. Processes
During flotation processes small gas bubbles are gener-
4.1.2.1 Measurement of the Sludge ated, which attach to the suspended particles thus causing
Interface the particle to rise to the surface of the liquid. Flotation is
a significantly faster process for solids separation than
For the operation of a continuous flow thickener the gravity sedimentation. In municipal wastewater treatment
most important parameter is the sludge interface. It dissolved air flotation is used. Vacuum flotation, induced
defines the detention time of the solids in the sludge gas flotation, electro-flotation and mechanical induced
zone and thus achievable total solids concentration. If gas flotation are usually not used here. During dissolved
the interface is too low, lower solids concentration in the air flotation a water stream, which has been saturated
thickened sludge must be expected. If the interface is too with air under high pressure, is pressure released. Thus
high, solids retention time will promote a beginning very fine air bubbles are produced. The solubility of gas in
degradation of the sludge (formation of biogas bubbles water in dependency on pressure has been known. Ac-
at the thickener surface) thus reducing dewatering re- cording to Henry-Dalton's law it is proportional to the
sults. At the same time odour nuisances can occur. For partial pressure of the gas above the liquid (Figure 7).
controlling or monitoring sludge and supernatant with- During pressure release spontaneously micro bubbles are
drawal from the thickener, measuring of the sludge produced, which have a diameter between 30 m and 80
interface level is useful. m. Dissolved air flotation systems can be constructed as
circular or rectangular tanks (see Figure 8).

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 17


DWA-M 381E

Flotation systems should normally be equipped with


scrapers for the bottom sludge.

Dissolved air flotation is classified into:

3 External stream process


Partial or complete stream processes
g/m
air quantity Qair l/m3

3
l/m
3

air
Recycle stream processes.
Q
In the external stream process, additional water is intro-
duced to the gas injection unit. Thus the wastewater
quantity is increased. At wastewater treatment plants
this process is normally not employed. In the partial or
complete stream process, wastewater or liquid sludge or
a partial stream of them is introduced to the gas injec-
tion unit. This risks pollution of the pressurizing tank
and clogging of the depressurizing valve. Additionally
differential pressure (bar) sludge particles are subjected to strong shear forces,
which leads to smaller floc size and reduces floating
Figure 7: Mathematically released air quantity in depend- ability. The recycle stream process, where clarified efflu-
ency on temperature and differential pressure ent from the flotation unit effluent is returned to the gas
injection unit, has proven to work best. Necessary recy-
The main components are: cle water quantities can be calculated (see [16]). Addi-
tionally it may be reasonable to feed part of the recycle
Gas injection unit, where the liquid (e.g. recycled stream to the flotation unit influent as dilution water for
water) is saturated with air under pressure adjusting solids content. The entire recycle stream then
One or more pressure-reducing vales amounts to 50 % to 200 % of liquid sludge feed. For
floated sludge conveyance, positive displacement pumps
Flotation tank with surface skimmers for the float are suitable, which can withdraw the air-enriched
blanket and scrapers for the bottom sludge. floated sludge.
The gas injection unit as well as the pressure release
system determine bubble formation in the flotation tank. A dissolved air flotation system with a pressurizing unit
Standard pressures in the gas injection unit are between is a complicated system in regard to process and auto-
3 and 5 bar, in former times up to 6 bar. Energy-saving mation technology. Several equipment manufacturers
flotation systems use low pressures since energy demand therefore use newly developed multiphase pumps,
increases with gas injection pressure. Pressure-reducing where added air (ambient air or pressurized air) is bro-
valves should be installed in such a way that they can be ken into bubbles and dissolved in water. The pressuriz-
exchanged individually and cleaned easily during opera- ing unit and its periphery are not necessary anymore,
tion. In a flotation tank, the retention time of the floated when using this process technology.
sludge in the float zone decides the quality of the thick-
ening result, since the float sludge will rise above the Further operating experience is discussed in Clause 5.3.
water level at sufficiently long retention time and will
then thicken further. Therefore it is an advantage, if the Table 2 presents operating and dimensioning data for
float sludge removal velocity and the float blanket existing dissolved air flotation systems according to
height are adjustable in reference to the water level. [12].

18 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

float sludge
sludge
Flotationsschlamm
float

waste
waste activated-
activated
berschuss
sludge
sludge
schlamm
Flotationsschlamm
float sludge
float sludge
Bodenschlamm
bottom sludge
bottom sludge

Klarwasser
clarified effluent
clarified effluent

Druck-
pressurizing
pressurizing
erzeuger
unit
unit

Sedimentabzug
sediment
sediment
air
Luft
air removal
removal

Figure 8: Schematic diagram of a dissolved air flotation system in a rectangular tank, recycle stream process

Table 2: Operating and dimensioning data for existing dissolved air flotation systems according to [12]

Parameter Term Unit Value

Surface loading rate qA, m3/(m2h) 1 7,5

Solids loading rate SLR kgTSS/(m2h) 5 20

Specific air feed Qair/TSS g air/kgTSS 5 40

Pressure difference at pressure release p bar 36

Mean size of air bubbles Dair m 30 80

Flotation tank length LFT m 6 30

Flotation tank depth hFT m 0,6 3,5

Ratio length : depth L:h - 28

Flotation tank diameter DFT m 5 20

Detention time in the mixing zone min 12

Detention time in the flotation tank min 20 60

Scraping velocity of the float sludge skimmer cm/s 13

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 19


DWA-M 381E

4.2 Mechanical Thickening 4.2.2 Construction, Control Options


Using Natural Gravity
4.2.2.1 Rotary Drum Screen Thickeners
4.2.1 Basic Principles, Designs
Drum screens (Figure 9) have been supplied for years by
If sludge is thickening mechanically using natural grav- various manufacturers. They are cylindrical drums cov-
ity, water binding forces are reduced by the addition of ered by a filter media on the outside. The drum is in-
flocculation agents. In terms of physics, it is a screening stalled horizontally or with a slight variable angle of incli-
or sieving process. On account of the sludge-specific nation. The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation
strength of the water binding forces and the mode of unit and is fed floc-friendly to the slowly rotating drum by
operation of the equipment, at times large quantities of overflow. Using an integrated screw flight or a worm gear
flocculation agent are required for achieving a high weir, the sludge moves through the drum. The slow rota-
degree of thickening depending on mechanical stress on tion of the drum constantly moves the sludge thus im-
the sludge flocs. proving water release. On the discharge side, the sludge
drops directly onto a conveyer. The filtrate is drained
through the filter media and is collected in a tank and in a
These thickening devices definitely need a downstream
discharge pipe. The filter media, which has a sludge spe-
flocculant mixing zone adapted to sludge characteristics
cific mesh size, shall be kept clean of finest particles by
and a flocculation reactor/flocculation unit. In this floc-
spray washing from the outside.
culation unit the sludge mixed with flocculant is stirred
floc-friendly by a continuously adjustable agitator in
order to maximize required total flocculation. Maximum In order to improve efficiency of the drum screen, some
utilization of the flocculant, determines the efficiency of manufacturers use belt thickeners as a pre-thickening step.
the subsequent thickening device. Generally, a cross-
linked liquid flocculant or a mixture of liquid and solid Control options for drum screen operation:
flocculants is used for conditioning. When using such a Rotational speed of the drum
thickening device, aerosol generation caused by atomisa-
tion of spray water for cleaning machines and filter Mixing energy in the flocculation reactor
units, shall be taken into consideration. Operating per-
Flocculant dosage
sonnel shall be protected adequately.
Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.
Thickening devices which make use of natural gravita-
tional forces are rotary drum screens, screw thickeners, Variable parameters are optimized during operation for
gravity belt thickeners, disk thickeners and thickening particular sludge types and characteristics taking into
pumps. consideration thickening objectives.

Various sizes of drum screens are offered by various


manufacturers.

agitator
agitator

flocculation unitunit
flocculation
fabric cleaning
fabric cleaning

polymer
polymer

sludge
sludgefeed
feed

filtrate effluent
filtrate effluent

discharge
discharge thickened sludge
thickened sludge

Figure 9: Schematic diagram of a rotary drum screen (Roefilt, Passavant-Geiger GmbH)

20 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

Table 3: Manufactured sizes of rotary drum screens

Parameter Unit From To

Capacity m/h 3 100

Solids feed capacity kg/h 15 1 500

Drum diameter mm 600 1 200

Drum length mm 1 500 3 500

Rotational speed of the drum 1/min 2 30

4.2.2.2 Rotary Screw Thickeners the wedge wire drum and is collected in a tank and in a
discharge pipe. At the discharge of the rotary screw
In a rotary screw thickener (Figure 10), the sludge is thickener, the thickened sludge is transported via a
pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and is fed to the hopper to the thickened sludge pump.
thickener by overflow. Filling height is constant and
independent from inflow. The rotary screw thickener Control options for rotary screw thickener operation:
consists of an inclined (about 30) stationary cylindrical Rotational speed of the screw flight
wedge wire drum with an inner screw flight for sludge
conveyance. Due to variable, slow rotation of the screw Mixing energy in the flocculation unit
flight, a continuous conveyance and turning of the
sludge takes place, which improves water release. In the
Flocculant dosage
context of process engineering, it is not considered a Sludge feed capacity per unit of time
pressing procedure. In order to prevent deposits on the
inner side of the drum brushes are installed in the spi- Frequency of spray nozzle cleaning.
rals of the screw. Additionally a rotating spray nozzle
system is installed for cleaning the wedge wire drum During operation variable parameters are optimized for
from the outside. The spray system is operated in inter- particular sludge types and characteristics taking into
vals, which are adjustable according to sludge character- consideration thickening objectives.
istics. In comparison to other thickening equipment,
which utilizes natural gravity, very little quantities of Rotary screw thickeners are offered in varying sizes (see
spray water are required. The filtrate is drained through Table 4).

Table 4: Manufactured sizes of rotary screw thickeners

Parameter Unit From To

Capacity m/h 8 90
Solids capacity kg/h 40 750
Diameter of the wedge wire drum mm 300 1 200
Length of the wedge wire mm 1 200 1 900
Rotational speed of the screw flight 1/min 1 12

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 21


DWA-M 381E

Figure 10: Schematic drawing of a rotary screw thickener (Rotamat, Huber Technology, Inc.)

4.2.2.3 Belt Thickeners


Belt thickeners (Figure 11) are continuously operated Belt movement is normally controlled by pneumatic or
devices, where conditioned sludge is spread evenly on a hydraulic tracking and tensioning rolls. Directional sta-
porous rotating filter belt and is thickened by gravity bility is monitored and if necessary the machine is shut
drainage. All belt thickeners work according to this prin- off automatically and a fault report is triggered.
ciple, however modified constructions try to enhance
gravity drainage by pressure or vacuum. Belt thickeners In some machine types the filter belt passes through a
can also be used for pre-thickening before drum screens vacuum zone after the gravity drainage zone. The vacuum
or before belt filter presses for sludge dewatering. is used to remove additional quantities of water contained
between the sludge flocs. Furthermore, it is possible to
The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and transport the gravity-drained pre-thickened sludge to a
is distributed evenly and turbulence-free on the filter second belt, where slight pressure is applied to the sludge
belt. After complete flocculation of the sludge using by pneumatically adjustable pressure plates or rollers, in
flocculants, spontaneously considerable water quantities order to further improve dewatering results.
are released. The filtrate is drained in the horizontal
gravity drainage zone of the continuously rotating filter The belt is fed back automatically and cleaned in a wash
belt. Solids are retained on the belt. By installation of spray installation. It is operated at water pressures up to
various devices (so-called chicanes) the sludge is shifted 8 bar and cleans the filter belt before it is used again.
and turned on the belt. Thus, water released by floccula- Often filtrate collected in a collection tray is used as
tion can drain and is not collected or retained on the washing water. By doing so consumption of external
filter belt surface or within the solids layer. Finally, the water for belt cleaning can be decrease significantly or
thickened sludge is discharged over an adjustable ramp avoided completely. Additionally, solids-laden washing
with a scraper blade for further treatment. water can be returned to the influent. Thus an improved
degree of separation is achieved.

22 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

Control options for the operation of belt thickeners: 4.2.2.4 Disk Thickeners
Belt speed
Disk thickeners (Figure 12) are continuously operated
Mixing energy in the flocculation unit thickening devices, where the conditioned sludge is dis-
tributed evenly on a filter disk and is thickened by gravity
Thickness of the sludge layer, regulated by the height
drainage. The inclined disk, which consists of a perforated
of the ramp at the discharge chute
carrier disk covered by a filter cloth with uniform mesh
Sludge feed capacity per unit of time size, rotates slowly and is completely enclosed by a
stainless steel casing. The filter disk separates the casing
Flocculant dosage. into two zones which are sealed off from each other.
Sludge is thickened in the zone above the filter disk, while
At belt thickeners a visual control of the sludge, which is filtrate is collected in the zone below the disk.
conveyed on the belt, is possible thus the quality of floccu-
lation and the degree of thickening can be monitored. The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and
Belt thickeners are offered in various sizes (see Table 5). is fed floc-friendly to the surface of the filter disk by
overflow. The conditioned sludge settles on the filter
Table 5: Manufactured sizes of belt thickeners disk. Free water drains through the filter cloth, is col-
lected in the filtrate trough and is discharged via a bot-
Unit from to tom drain.

Capacity m/h 10 150 Solids are conveyed to a discharge opening by the


rotation of the disk. Rotational speed of the disk thick-
Solids feed capacity kg/h 50 2 250 ener can be varied during operation. Furthermore, the
angle of inclination of the disk can be adapted to the
Belt width mm 800 2 700 characteristics of the sludge which is to be thickened.
Chicanes in the thickening zone enhance separation of
Belt speed m/min 7 30 solids and liquid. In addition a scraper is installed
above the disk, which supports sludge discharge and
continuously removes the solids from the filter disk. As
a consequence of the disk's inclination, solids are dis-
charged as well-thickened sludge. A spray bar installed
between sludge feed and sludge discharge spray
washes the filter cloth from below. Spray washing from
below guarantees that no solids are flushed into the
filtrate. Recycled filtrate is used as spray water. On
account of its construction the system has very few
wear parts.

belt chicanes adjustable ramp

drive

filtrate

Filtrat
feed and maturing feed of flocculated
chamber sludge discharge
suspension
Zulauf geflockte Suspension belt wash water chute

Figure 11: Schematic drawing of a belt thickener (Turbodrain, Bellmer GmbH)

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 23


DWA-M 381E

4.2.2.5 Thickening Pumps


Thickening pumps (Figure 13) are continuously oper-
ated thickening aggregates. Sludge thickening and
pumping of thickened sludge is achieved by one ma-
chine. Basically the thickening pump can be considered
a modified eccentric screw pump, where the suction
chamber has been replaced by a rotating cylindrical
filter screen. The filter cylinder consists of a stainless
steel support structure covered by an exchangeable
synthetic fabric and an inner spiral-screw conveyer.

The sludge is pre-conditioned in a flocculation unit and


is fed to the rotating filter cylinder, where is it trans-
ported in axial direction to the pump head. The sludge is
transported by the inner spiral-screw conveyer. The
flocculated sludge is moved continuously by the slow
rotation of the filter cylinder thus enhancing water dis-
charge. The released free water drains through the filter
Figure 12: Schematic drawing of a disk thickener fabric into a collection pan and a discharge pipe. The
(Huber Technology, Inc.) filter fabric, which has a sludge-specific mesh size, shall
be spray washed continuously from the outside. At the
Control options for the operation of disk thickeners: end of the filter cylinder the sludge enters the "force-
feed chamber" of the pump. The chamber has the same
Rotational speed of the disk diameter as the rotating filter cylinder, while the stator
of the pump has a smaller diameter and is mounted
Inclination of the disk
centrally at the front end of the force-feed chamber. The
Mixing energy in the flocculation unit thickened sludge is pumped by the stator/rotor-system
of an eccentric screw pump to further treatment. The
Flocculant dosage rotating filter cylinder is mounted on the shaft of the
Sludge feed capacity per unit of time. rotor drive and thus has identical revolution speed as
the pump.
Disk thickeners are currently offered in two sizes.
Control options for the operation of thickening pumps:
This type of thickening aggregate has been in full-scale Revolution speed of the drive motor
operation at smaller wastewater treatment plants, but so
far very little data have been published for evaluating Mixing energy in the flocculation unit
performance and economic efficiency. Flocculant dosage

Table 6: Manufactured sizes of disk thickeners Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.

Thickening pumps are currently only offered in one size


Parameter Unit From To
(see Table 7).
Capacity m/h 5 40
Table 7: Manufactured sizes of thickening pumps
Solids feed capacity kg/h 25 350
Parameter Unit From To
1 500 to
Disk diameter mm
1 800
Capacity m/h 2 15
Disk rotation 1/min 1,5 10
Solids feed capacity kg/h 20 150

Thickening pumps have been in full-scale operation at


smaller wastewater treatment plants, but so far very
little data have been published for evaluating perform-
ance and economic efficiency.

24 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

process water
process water
flocculant solution
flocculant solution

spray wash
spray washwater
water

pump
pump

liquid sludge
liquid sludge
feed flocculation
flocculation
feed unit
unit

filtrate
filtrate

Figure 13: Schematic drawing of a thickening pump (Decadrain, Hiller GmbH)

4.3 Mechanical Thickening Various manufacturers of centrifuges also offer co-


current as well as counter-current centrifuges for the
Using Artificial Gravity thickening of waste activated sludge. The difference lies
in the location of the feed point in the centrifuge and in
the direction of flow of the sludge phase and the liquid
4.3.1 Centrifuges Construction and phase. In operation, generally no significant differences
Control Options of efficiency can be observed.

In centrifuges (Figure 14) mechanically generated artifi- Control options for the operation of centrifuges:
cial gravity is used to separate the "liquid" phase from
the "solid" phase of the sludge. As a consequence of Rotational speed of the bowl
generated centrifugal forces, water binding forces are
Rotational speed difference between bowl and scroll
overcome using artificial gravity. Therefore centrifuges
can be operated until the desired degree of thickening is Pond depth
achieved also without addition of flocculants. If very
high degrees of separation are required, small quantities Flocculant dosage
of flocculatants shall be used. Because of their continu- Sludge feed capacity per unit of time.
ous mode of operation solid bowl centrifuges (decant-
ers) are preferred for thickening sewage sludge. It must If flocculants are used for improving the degree of sepa-
be mentioned however that centrifuges have a relatively ration, they have to be selected according to type and
high maintenance and inspection demand (according to quantity and particular sludge characteristics. In contrast
accident prevention regulation "Grundstze der Prven- to thickening aggregates which use natural gravity,
tion (Basic prevention regulations)" BGV A1 dated Janu- centrifuges require a very low specific flocculant quan-
ary 1, 2004 with reference to Betriebssicherheitsverord- tity for conditioning. Inexpensive powder flocculants can
nung (German Operational Safety Act) [33]). be used as well. During operation variable parameters
are optimized for each type of sludge and for specific
Sludge is fed through a feed pipe into the rotating cen- sludge characteristics taking into consideration thicken-
trifuge drum. Centrifugal forces cause the solids to con- ing objectives.
centrate on the inner bowl wall, while the sludge liquor
(centrate) forms an inner ring above the solids layer. If the objectives are
Pond depth (depth of the liquid and the solid phase) is
high sludge feed capacity,
defined by weir plates. A helical scroll, spinning at a
slightly different speed than the bowl, moves the accu- high degree of thickening with regard to subsequent
mulated sludge towards the tapered end where the sludge treatment steps or
sludge is then discharged.
high degree of separation possibly without the addi-
tion of flocculants,

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 25


DWA-M 381E

scroll gear box scroll feed zone weir plate


bowl
drive
drum
drive

solids centrate
discharge sludge
discharge
feed

Figure 14: Schematic drawing of a counter-current thickening centrifuge (Flottweg AG)

then control and regulation of the rotational speed dif- The rotational speed of the bowl, which is optimized
ference or the height of the weir plate is useful as well according to sludge characteristics and machine effi-
as monitoring of the centrate quality. If, in dependency ciency, as a rule is much lower for thickening than for
on sludge characteristics and utilization ratio, the degree dewatering centrifuges. When operating thickening
of separation in the centrate is unsatisfactory (e.g. less centrifuges with addition of flocculants, the centrifuge
than 80 %), then flocculants shall be added. Already if can be operated generally at a much lower rotational
relatively small quantities of flocculants are added, the speed, which significantly reduces energy demand and
degree of separation or the possible sludge feed capacity wear and tear in the centrifuge.
per unit of time increases significantly.
If waste activated sludge is thickened in centrifuges with-
Centrifuges have a large range of application. They are out the addition of flocculants, the flow behaviour of the
suitable for thickening and dewatering of all types of thickened sludge changes considerably in dependency on
sludges. Construction and equipment with various ancil- sludge characteristics and degree of thickening. Viscosity
lary components shall be adapted to each particular of the thickened sludge increases strongly and it can be-
application. come pasty. This shall be taken into account for planning
and dimensioning of the entire plant especially for dimen-
Centrifuges are offered by various manufacturers in sioning of pumps and pipes for thickened sludge.
varying sizes (see Table 8).
Reliability and availability of centrifuges can be en-
Table 8: Manufactured size of thickening centrifuges hanced by using high-alloy steel for rotor and scroll.
These materials are advantageous especially for aggres-
sive sludges and longer dead times.
Parameter Unit From To
Economic efficiency of centrifuges can possibly be in-
Capacity m/h 5 200 creased by using the same aggregate for thickening and
dewatering. Then, however, one shall take into consid-
Sludge feed capacity kg/h 20 3 000
eration that mechanical thickening cannot be accom-
Bowl diameter mm 250 1 400 plished at optimum efficiency in a dewatering centri-
fuge. Due to the geometric construction one shall
Bowl length including possibly expect increased flocculant demand for thicken-
mm 600 4 200
conus ing and unsatisfactory thickening results. Since normally
Rotational speed of the different flocculant are used for thickening and dewater-
1/min 700 3 000 ing, two flocculation units are necessary. Also, addi-
bowl
tional flushing and start-up periods shall be considered.
The overall cost efficiency of this process alternative
shall be evaluated in each individual case.

26 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

4.3.2 Further Developments in 5 Performance Data of Vari-


Machine Technology
ous Thickening Processes
Lysate-Centrifuge
During the last years, various manufacturers of centri- 5.1 Application Ranges
fuges have developed thickening centrifuges for waste
activated sludge (lysate-centrifuge), which are equipped Waste activated sludges, which are often hardly thicke-
with a mechanical device for cell destruction (disintegra- nable with gravity thickening, can be concentrated with
tion). A special striking mechanism is mounted on the various mechanical processes. This is valid for new treat-
solids discharge side of the centrifuge. Centrate quality ment plants as well as for rehabilitation measures of exist-
in general is not influenced by the disintegration device. ing plants. Since thickening efficiency largely depends on
plant-specific sludge characteristics, it is recommended to
The lysate-device of one manufacturer can be retrofitted conduct full-scale tests on location. Most machinery
in existing machines. manufacturers offer mobile test plants. Thus, it is gener-
ally possible to test various machinery types directly on
The objective of the lysate-centrifuge technology is to location in direct comparison. During the tests, not only
achieve cell disintegration by destroying micro-organic the degree of thickening can be determined but also speci-
cells of the centrifugally thickened sludge and thus im- fications on flocculant and energy demand, which deter-
prove and accelerate degradation during biological sta- mine operating costs, can be verified.
bilisation.
Basically no limitations in regard to minimum solids
The high wear and tear in the machinery and especially feed concentration exist for mechanical thickening.
the generally negative effects on sludge structure as a Thus, also very thin waste activated sludges with a solids
result of disintegration, which are comparable to those content less than 5 gTSS/l can be thickened.
of other known sludge disintegration methods, shall be
evaluated.
5.2 Thickening Results and their
Only a small number of these aggregates has been in Dependencies
full-scale operation and so far very little data have been
published for evaluating performance and economic Plant-specific sludge characteristics have a substantial
efficiency. influence on plant performance. Performance date can
vary considerably depending on solids feed concentra-
Thickening centrifuges using the Varipond-system tion, total fixed solids and other sludge parameters.
Moreover, the choice of flocculant, technical details of
One of the manufacturers for centrifuges has developed
machinery and flocculant processing, and qualification
a centrifuge for the thickening of waste activate sludge
of the operating personnel are of special importance. At
which has a control and regulating system for adjusting
extremely favourable conditions, temporarily high total
pond depth in the decanter bowl using a throttle plate
solids concentrations can be achieved. Such results,
which moves along its axis (varipond system). Together
however, may not be generalized.
with the rotating weir plates, pond depth in the centri-
fuge can continuously be adjusted and optimized for
feed sludge characteristics at full operating speed. When Taking into consideration sludge-specific thickening
using the varipond system the centrifuge can be characteristics, the following mean results for the per-
equipped with an inexpensive belt-driven screw drive. formance parameters solids content of discharged
On account of low screw torque in the centrifuge during sludge, specific flocculant demand, and specific energy
thickening of waste activated sludge a hydraulic or elec- demand can be expected for various types of sludges and
tric screw drive is not necessary. thickening processes (see Table 9).

The objective of the varipond system is to achieve a The specific flocculant demand for thickening of waste
constant discharge concentration of solids at a constant activated sludge given in Table 9 is related to the poly-
feed capacity but fluctuating solids feed concentrations. mer-active substance (AS) of an accordingly prepared
The throttle plate is normally controlled manually or by solution with a specific concentration. The polymer-
a continuous measuring of scattered light/turbidity, active substance (polymer content) specifies the poly-
which monitors solids concentration in the discharged meric fraction of the product. One must note however
thickened sludge. that the term active substance may be misleading, since
the overall effectiveness of the delivered product (in-
cluding additional fractions e.g. water, paraffinic oil,
This type of cenrifuge has been in full-scale operation
emulsifier) shall be evaluated. Effectiveness of a product
for many years, but still so far very little data have been
shall be determined for each defined application taking
published for evaluating performance and economic
into consideration achievable and desired thickening
efficiency.
results (cost-performance ratio) [11].

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 27


DWA-M 381E

Table 9: Total solids content in the discharge [% TS], spec. flocculant demand and spec. energy demand of various
thickening processes

Gravity Thickening Flotation Mechanical Thickening

continuous
operation belt thickener/
centrifuge
dissolved drum screen/
batch
air screw thickener/
operation
without with flotation disk thickener/ without with
floccu- floccu- thickening pump floccu- floccu-
lant lant lant lant

Primary sludge [% TS] 5 10 - 5 10 - - - -

Mixed primary sludge [% TS] 46 58 48 - - - -

Waste activated
[% TS] 23 34 23 35 57 57 68
sludge

Specific flocculant
[kg AS/MgTSS] 0 0,5 3 0 0 37 0 1 1.5
demand

Specific. energy
[kWh/m3] < 0,1 < 0,1 - 0,6 1,2 < 0,2 1 1,4 0,6 1
demand
Specific. energy 180 100
[kWh/MgTSS] < 20 < 20 - 100 140 < 30
demand 220 140

For an unfavourable mode of operation of the thickening When evaluating thickening processes and performance
aggregate, non-optimal conditioning and unfavourable data, not only achieved discharge solids concentration
sludge characteristics, solids content in the sludge dis- but also flocculant demand, energy demand, water con-
charge can be significantly lower and specific flocculant sumption, flow rate and the degree of separation as the
demand significantly higher. parameter for overall performance are essential. For
evaluating economic efficiency also additional impacts
Specific energy demand, which shall be calculated with- on the costs of the entire treatment chain for wastewater
out taking into account required flocculant quantities, and sludge shall be considered.
shall be evaluated in dependency on machinery capacity,
overall performance and mode of operation of the ag- 5.3 Experiences and Recommendations
gregate as well as the desired degree of separation. If
sludge characteristics are extremely favourable, a thick- Gravity thickening of waste activated sludge is difficult
ening aggregate often can be operated at an accordingly and often leads to low solids contents in the thickened
high hydraulic flow rate, which further reduces quantity- sludge. Due to the very small difference in density of
related specific energy demand in comparison to values solids and water, already small convection cur-
given in Table 9. rents/density shifts can cause solids to rise (floating
sludge). The improvement of liquid/solid separation by
The solids-related degree of separation of the various adding flocculants is not always successful. Possibly, the
processes generally lies between ca. 92 % and 96 % in addition of suitable mineral additives can improve op-
dependency on sludge characteristics, degree of thicken- eration. A gravity post-thickening of digested sludges is
ing, and specific flocculant quantities. Only for the op- often not possible, if a mechanical pre-thickening of
eration of thickening centrifuges without the addition of waste activated sludge has been used, since solids con-
flocculants, a degree of separation between 85 % and tent is already high and free water has already been
92 % is to be expected in dependency on quantity- separated in the pre-thickening step.
related utilisation of the aggregate and the rotational
speed of the bowl. Flotation systems show good thickening results espe-
cially if solids feed concentration is in the range of
approx. 3kgTSS/m. If concentrations are higher, nor-
mally the degree of thickening and separation de-

28 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

creases and sludge flocs may be discharged uninten- Frequently, process water is used for spray washing of
tionally with the supernatant. For this reason sludge is filter media used in gravity thickeners. If the degree of
diluted with water if solids feed concentrations are separation is high, above 95 %, normally filtrate can be
high, e.g. if activated sludge has been wasted from the used as wash water. Especially if flocculant dosage is not
return sludge flow. Thus, activated sludge for thicken- regulated one shall prevent an over or under dosing
ing can be wasted directly from the effluent of the which affects filtrate quality. If qualified personnel are
aeration tank. Flotation systems can be operated with- employed plant performance can be improved and costs
out much effort, if thickening results of 4 % to are reduced. For investment decisions, operational reli-
4,5 % TS are sufficient. Slightly higher values between ability and availability of the aggregates are just as im-
5,0 % and 5,5 % TS can only be achieved by intensive portant as investment and operating costs. If the type of
supervision of the system e.g. by optimizing the height thickening process has not been decided beforehand by
of the float blanket and the velocity of the float skim- practical constraints, it is recommended to select an
mers. A selective removal of sediment without clarified aggregate by making thickening test. Meaningful results
water fractions is also important, since the sediment is can be obtained with full-scale machinery at best in
mixed with the thickened float sludge. Turbidity sen- the actually required future aggregate size -, which has
sors, which interrupt sediment removal if defined sol- been installed temporarily at the designated place of
ids concentrations are undercut, have proven useful. installation.
Solids content of the thickened sludge can possibly be
increased by the addition of flocculants. Generally, this Even with such tests, thickening results and costs can
is only possible if the system is supervised very closely. only be estimated within a certain range since sludge
characteristics can change. This is especially true for a
Thickening aggregates shall be thoroughly integrated change in sludge characteristics after the processes in
into the overall concept of the sludge treatment plant. the treatment plant have been altered e.g. to nitrifica-
The whole treatment chain shall be regarded and shall tion, denitrification and phosphrus removal or if, at
be adapted to existing sludge characteristics and to the times, massive growth of filamentous bacteria in the
solids content, achieved with the thickening aggregate. aeration tank occurs.

Since the solids content of waste activated sludges may


fluctuate during the day due to hydraulic, procedural, 5.4 Future Developments
and load variations (4 gTSS/l to 8 gTSS/l), a regula-
tion/control of the sludge feed quantity or the flocculant According to previous experience it is to be expected
dosage on the basis of a continuous measuring of the that a further enhancement of thickening results by
solids content and the thus calculated solids load is machinery improvement is only possible to a limited
recommended. This is especially important in regard to extent. Optimisation possibilities can be found in a fur-
a uniform degree of thickening at the discharge of the ther automation of the aggregates with the objective of
aggregate. Furthermore, an over or under dosing of achieving permanently good performance data. Im-
flocculant shall be prevented because of negative im- provements are to be expected for optimum flocculant
pacts on the subsequent steps of sludge treatment and processing and dosing and for monitoring of discharged
wastewater treatment. The addition of very high quanti- sludge with a feed back to an automatic plant control
ties of flocculant for thickening of waste activated sludge system. A largely automated, safe and low maintenance
may decrease biogas yield of a subsequent digestion operation with simultaneously high efficiency can re-
process (anaerobic stabilisation). Also, it may decrease duce operating costs. Thus a cost-efficient alternative to
efficiency of digested sludge dewatering, causing lower gravity thickening with its short-term amortisation of
solids content in the discharged sludge and increased investments is available.
specific flocculant demand. Probably, this is due to the
changed viscosity characteristics of the sludge and a
charge equalization which occurred during thickening.
For measuring the solids content of waste activated
sludge, turbidity measuring devices have proven of value
under operating conditions. Additional investment costs
and supervision and maintenance expenses shall be
taken into consideration for a controlled operation of
thickening aggregates.

Flocculation demand is an important starting point for


optimisation tasks. The type of flocculant, optimum
preparation of the flocculant, selected concentration of
the solution, point of flocculant addition and optimum
mixing energy have a strong effect on the thickening
result.

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 29


DWA-M 381E

6 Effects of Various 6.1.2 Indirect Effects


Thickening Processes on It is necessary to operate sludge thickening systems
meticulously in order to guarantee that the advantage of
Other Treatment Steps investment cost reduction in practical operation is not
realised at the expense of other treatment steps or the
Sludge thickening affects other treatment steps in regard treatment efficiency of the entire wastewater treatment
to hydraulics and to substance loads. The desired reduc- plant. Special attention shall be paid to the optimisation
tion of the sludge stream volume leads to a hydraulic of operating parameters.
load reduction of downsteam treatment steps. As a re-
sult of the return flow of the separated sludge liquor, Detention time of the sludge in the thickener is of ut-
this load reduction is directly coupled to an increased most importance for gravity thickeners. Municipal raw
return load of upstream treatment steps and the entire sludges, to a high percentage, consist of organic sub-
wastewater treatment process. stances which are subject to biological processes. These
conversion processes are time-dependent and as a rule
Optimal thickening results can only be achieved by con- have a negative impact on thickening behaviour. Gas
tinuous adaption of the operation to changing process bubbles formed by degradation or digestion processes
conditions. It is however not possible to react to short- attach to the solids and reduce compression pressure
time fluctuations. due to their buoyant force. Identical problems can occur
on account of denitrification if nitrate-containing sludges
are thickened or on account of gas formation, if digested
6.1 Effects on Downstream Treatment sludges are thickened. Thus, normally gravity thickening
Steps of digested sludges will not be successful without special
measures.
Type and efficiency of the thickening process have a
direct effect on downstream treatment steps. Indirect The time period until digestion of the raw sludge starts,
effects are the result of the mode of operation of the accompanied by the above described effects, determines
thickening system. maximum detention time in the thickening zone. Fur-
thermore, a significant redissolution of phosphorus
occurs for activated sludge systems with integrated
6.1.1 Direct Effects biological phosphorus removal due to the recycling of
the waste activated sludge to the primary sedimentation
Sludge thickening aims to reduce the volume flow and or the thickening tank. Likewise, a hydrolysis of nitrogen
correspondingly reduces the load on subsequent steps of and carbon compounds and the formation of hydrogen
the sludge treatment process. Thus investment and op- sulphide may take place. These factors may have a sig-
erating costs of downstream treatment steps are re- nificant effect on the mass growth of filamentous bacte-
duced. During a subsequent stabilisation process, ria in the aeration tank. On account of varying sludge
sludges can be concentrated to such a high extent that a characteristics, thickening time may range between one
separation of sludge liquor after stabilisation becomes and two days. Optimum retention time in the thickener
superfluous. The higher the degree of thickening the shall be determined separately for each application.
more significant the load reduction effect and accord-
ingly the lesser construction and operating costs will Rake devices with vertical pickets are used especially
arise for subsequent treatment. Gravity thickening with- during the thickening of secondary sludge to stir the
out addition of flocculants has a predominantly positive sludge gently thereby opening up channels for sludge
effect on subsequent mechanical dewatering. Frequently, liquor to escape and promoting gas release. Theoreti-
discharge solids concentration of the dewatered sludge cally, this schould improve thickening results. However,
and solids feed capacity can thus be increased [29]. this assumption could not always be supported by prac-
Generally however the degree of thickening is limited by tical experiences [29], [23].
the required pumpability and conditionability of the
thickened sludge.
Settling and thickening behaviour in gravity thickeners
is affected by currents which are caused by e.g. tempera-
ture differences between influent and thickener content,
solar radiation, frost or other external influences. The
structure of sludge flocs is of high importance for thick-
ening results and correspondingly the performance of
subsequent treatment steps (e.g. dewatering). Therefore
increased attention shall be paid to sludge conveyance.
If shear forces caused by turbulences exceed water bind-
ing forces, sludge flocs will be destroyed. As a result the
percentage of colloidal particles increases and conse-
quently the water binding forces in the sludge increase

30 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

as well. This leads to a worsening of the thickening 6.2 Effects on Upstream Treatment
behaviour. High-speed centrifugal pumps are to be
avoided for sludge transport. Eccentric screw pumps or Steps
rotary piston pumps are more suitable.
The feedback effect of especially mechanical thickening
on upstream treatment processes and on the entire
In order to increase the thickening ability of the sludge
wastewater treatment process is not insubstantial. The
and to enhance the thickening efficiency, according to
higher the degree of thickening, the larger the recycled
process type organic flocculants (polyelectrolytes) are
fraction of sludge liquor will be and in turn the hydrau-
added. Electrostatic attraction promotes the agglomera-
lic return load. However, it only amounts to ca. 1 % of
tion of particles and a more favourable structure for
wastewater influent [13] to the treatment plant and thus
additional water release is created. If dosing quantities
only adds marginal hydraulic load.
are too low, no optimum thickening can be achieved. If
dosing quantities are too high, thickening results worsen
The recycled sludge liquor also causes a solids and pol-
as well, since excess quantities of positively charged
lutants return load. In dependency on characteristics of
flocculants hinder agglomeration with negatively
the sludge to be thickened, the type and operation of the
charged sludge particles by electrostatic repulsion. Filter
thickener, and the degree of separation, a return load of
media may clog due to overdosing of flocculants. In
solids and dissolved pollutants occurs. The degree of
drum screens or screw thickeners sludge is turned per-
pollution is determined mainly by possible degradation
manently and in general is thus thickened to a higher
processes of organic substances in the sludge. Since only
degree than in belt or disk thickeners. However, also the
process conditions of gravity thickening with long reten-
specific flocculant demand is higher. Especially if strong-
tion times or thickening with prior disintegration allow
smelling substances or substances with a high vapour
substance conversions, a noteworthy return load espe-
pressure are treated, a closed construction of the aggre-
cially of the nutrients phosphorus and ammonium is
gate is recommended.
only to be expected for these processes. Dissolved sub-
stances in the sludge liquor produced by mechanical
In centrifuges solid content of the thickened sludge and
dewatering of waste activated sludge show comparable
degree of separation are determined by the rotational
concentrations to wastewater treatment plant effluent, if
speed difference of scroll and bowl and the weir height.
no disintegration of the sludge has taken place. Return
Automatic control of the rotational speed difference in
loads of mechanical thickening of waste activated sludge
dependency on torque or on turbidity of the discharged
are not comparable to return loads of digested sludge
centrate (after previous degassing) is possible for digested
dewatering. Nevertheless it shall be observed that the
sludge thickening within limits. An automatic control of
solids which are recycled with the sludge liquor shall
the rotational speed difference using online measurement
again be separated and thickened and will influence the
of the solids content of the thickened sludge has been
solids mass balance (sludge age). This does not only
operated successfully. An automatic control of pond depth
increase sludge feed quantity of thickeners, but also
is also offered by one of the manufacturers and has been
flocculant and energy demand. Additional costs and
described above. Thus fluctuations of solids content in the
possibly occurring operation problems caused by unsat-
feed sludge can be compensated and a consistent solids
isfactory degrees of separation are often forgotten.
content in the discharged sludge, as desired for further
treatment, can be guaranteed. Since thickening aggre-
A degree of separation between 85 % and 90 % should
gates are dimensioned according to solids loading, regula-
be realised if need be with addition of flocculants in
tion and control of sludge feed for obtaining a certain
order not to impair operation and treatment efficiency of
solids feed load is advantageous. Flocculant addition also
the wastewater treatment plant [26]. Solids contained in
should be controlled according to feed loads and not feed
the centrate/filtrate in general are easily settleable.
quantities.
Therefore it makes sense to feed the sludge liquor from
thickening processes to the wastewater treatment plant
For flotation thickening it is important to control and
influent or to the influent of the primary sedimentation
optimise operating parameters such as e.g. feed air
tank. There the solids will settle and part of the colloidal
quantity, gas injection pressure, return ratio and deten-
substances will be bound adsorptively [22].
tion time.
If thickening processes with integrated sludge disinte-
gration are used, in parts considerable carbon i.e. COD
return loads are to be expected. The return load for a
high degree of disintegration is similarly high as the
return load for digested sludge dewatering. For disinte-
gration of (biological) sludges, e.g. in stirred ball mills
or with ultrasound, cell walls of microorganisms are
destroyed and highly polluted cell water is released. The
solids which consist of cell membranes and residues of
the destroyed microorganisms settle fairly easily accord-
ing to present knowledge and thus improve thickening

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 31


DWA-M 381E

efficiency. Because of the increased fraction of very fine 6.4 Sludge Liquor Treatment
particles in the sludge, specific flocculant demand in-
creases substantially. Sludge disintegration technology is A separate treatment of sludge liquor from the thickening
still being developed. First full-scale tests have been process is only necessary if partial degradation or conver-
conducted and shall be evaluated specifically [15]. sion or extensive hydrolysis of organic substances takes
place during the thickening process. This is the case e.g.
for disintegration. For mechanical thickening with a suffi-
6.3 Application of Polymeric Floccu- ciently high degree of separation and an accordingly low
lants for Sludge Thickening concentration of solids in the filtrate/centrate, a direct
recycling of the sludge liquor to the wastewater treatment
The German Dngemittelverordnung (Fertilizer Ordi- plant influent is recommended. For gravity thickening in
nance) (Verordnung ber das Inverkehrbringen von general also no treatment and intermediate storage is
Dngemitteln, Bodenhilfsstoffen, Kultursubstraten und required, unless a noteworthy substance conversion and
Pflanzenhilfsmitteln (Ordinance on the bringing into an increased phosphorus redissolution is to be expected
circulation of fertilizers and other substances) DMV) on account of exceptionally high sludge retention times
enacted on November 26, 2003 [17] defines in 2 that and/or high temperatures.
sewage sludge is registered as fertilizer for agricultural
reuse if it fulfils the requirements of the Klr- For disintegration it shall be examined whether an in-
schlammverordnung (Sewage Sludge Ordinance). Accord- termediate storage or, if loads are high, a separate
ing to 2 and 3 of the DMV, fertilizer types are regis- treatment of sludge liquor is required. More information
tered under the requirement that "no polyacrylamides on options for sludge liquor treatment in mainstream or
(PAM) or mineral oils are used as conditioning agent in sidestream processes and on the selection criteria for
production and that no increased pollutant concentra- each process can be found in literature [14].
tions are caused by the use of other conditioning
agents". In addition, it shall be noted, that Annex 3
regulates the labelling of fertilizers which are not classi-
fied as EC-fertilizers, i.e. if a conditioning agent for 7 Costs for Waste Activated
fertilizer production exceeds a percentage of 0,5 %, it
shall be declared separately. A transition period of 10
Sludge Thickening
years has been fixed for the use of PAM in fertilizer
Costs for the various processes of sludge thickening shall
production (until December 4, 2013). Polyacrylamide
be considered separately for each individual case.
PAM is the main component of polymers (organic floccu-
According to experiences made in full-scale operation
lants) used for sludge conditioning. According to the
tests, cost factors listed in Table 10 should be taken into
ordinance, if sludge is to be reused in agriculture, then
account for economic comparisons.
PAM shall neither be used in wastewater treatment (e. g.
to prevent uncontrolled sludge discharge from the secon-
The following non-monetary factors are very important
dary settling tank) nor for thickening and dewatering in
for operation of the plant:
sludge treatment. For sludge incineration, no restrictions
for polymer conditioning are known at the moment [19]. Susceptibility to failure
Currently it is being clarified whether paraffin carrier oil
(white oil) used for the production of liquid flocculants Ease of operation
is to be considered a mineral oil in terms of the fertilizer Required expert knowledge for operation and main-
ordinance. tenance

Load specific annual costs were calculated for a model


treatment plant (100 000 PE) on the basis of annual
costs of investment and operation of a waste activated
sludge thickening plant based on current tender offers
(costs dated 2006) and using the evaluation of full-scale
operation tests with various thickening aggregates [23]
(see Figure 15).

32 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

Table 10: Cost factors for comparing economic efficiency

INVESTMENT COSTS

Mechanical and electrical engineering


Structural engineering

LABOUR COSTS

Labour costs (annual) / (per capita a)


COSTS FOR UTILITIES AND SUPPLIES

Energy costs / kWh


Cost for flocculants / kg flocculant
Costs for process or drinking water / m3
Costs for subsequent treatment / m3
MAINTENACE AND SPARE PARTS

Mechanical and electrical engineering % of investment costs


UTILISATION PERIOD

Mechanical and electrical engineering n years


Structural engineering n years
INTEREST RATE i %

CAPITAL RECOVERY FACTOR

Mechanical and electrical engineering CRF factor


Structural engineering CRF factor

spezifische
specific annual
specific annual
Jahreskosten
net costs
costs
net
netto
[[
/Mg
/Mg TSS]
TSS]
[ / Mg TS]

150

140

130 Flotation
flotation
flotation

120

statische
gravity
gravity
110
Eindickung
thickening
thickening
mechanical
mechanical
maschinelle
100 thickening
Eindickung
thickening

90

solids content sludge


solids content sludge
Austrags-Feststoffgehalt
80
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 discharge
discharge
[% TR] [%
[% TS]
TS]

Figure 15: Specific annual (net) costs of waste activated sludge thickening

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 33


DWA-M 381E

Various thickening processes generally achieve various 8 Summary


solids concentrations in the thickened sludge. Therefore
costs for further treatment in a digestion process (oper-
Thickening of sewage sludge is a widely used treatment
ating costs for transport, agitation and heating) or for
step and can be found in basically all treatment chains
the transport of the thickened sludge to a different for sludge treatment. Scientific investigation of this topic
treatment plant were considered. has been neglected in the past. Machinery and aggre-
gates described in this Advisory Leaflet represent the
Investment costs for mechanical processes including actual state of the art in science and technology.
flotation processes cover the building construction for
the housing of the aggregate. Since thickening is the first step of water removal and
optimum results can often only be achieved by condition-
Investment costs were converted to annual costs using ing methods, it is recommended to also regard the closely-
the equivalent annuity method and the capital recovery related Advisory Leaflet "Maschinelle Schlammentwsse-
factor CRF rung (Mechanical Sludge Dewatering)" [10] elaborated by
the same DWA Committee as well as the working report
i 1 i n "Auswahl und Einsatz von organischen Flockungshilfsmitteln
CRF = (4)
1 i n 1 Polyelektrolyten bei der Klrschlammentwsserung
(Selection and Application of Organic Flocculants polye-
lectrolytes for Sludge Dewatering)" [11].
In summary it can be stated that annual costs for flota-
tion and gravity thickening of waste activated sludge are
Complex interdependencies can be observed for sludge
higher than annual costs for mechanical thickening
treatment, which are a result of the following differences
processes. The reasons for this are especially the lower
and influencing factors:
expected degree of thickening for gravity thickening of
waste activated sludge and the consequently increased Sludge characteristics and their dependency on raw
quantities of thickened sludge, which cause increased wastewater as well as on process technology of
costs for further treatment. Also, amortisation costs for wastewater and sludge treatment (e.g. composition
gravity thickeners are relatively high. In this context, it of constituents, water binding capacity)
shall be noted that gravity thickening is normally not
Different process technology of thickening systems
used for separate waste activated sludge thickening but
(e.g. mode of operation, separation work, degree of
for thickening of primary or mixed primary sludge. Then
separation/selectivity, achievable solids content in
higher degrees of thickening can be achieved with ac-
the thickened sludge, specific flocculant demand)
cordingly lower annual costs.
Conditioning processes and quantities (e.g. effects due
When calculating costs one shall keep in mind that due to chemicals, salt content, additives, thermal effects)
to the reduced sludge volume after thickening, the new
construction of a subsequent stabilisation step requires In view of operational reliability and the thickening
smaller structures and thus induces lower investment objective, the following criteria are to be investigated
and operating costs. and evaluated for the selection of a thickening process:
Performance (total solids content and consistency of
the final product, degree of separation/selectivity)
Reliability (operational reliability of all technical
installations, compliance with given performance re-
quirements/thickening objectives) and flexibility of
the system (ability to adapt to varying loads, sludge
characteristics, operating conditions, failures)
Costs for operational supplies such as chemi-
cals/additives (conditioning), energy, water, opera-
tion, repair, maintenance (wear parts, inspections,
repair work), cleaning tasks, etc.
Consequential costs for subsequent sludge treatment,
sludge liquor treatment (return load including possi-
ble effects on wastewater treatment plant effluent/
wastewater charge), sludge transport and sludge re-
use/disposal
Investment costs (capital costs) for machinery, instal-
lations and structures (building constructions, inter-
mediate storage tanks) including necessary reserves
(disposability, future developments)

34 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA-M 381E

In addition the following shall be considered:


Literature
Emissions, such as odours or noises
[1] DIN 4045 (August 2003): Wastewater Engineering
Training requirements for personnel
Vocabulary
Control requirements
[2] DIN EN 1085 (May 2007): Wastewater treatment
Service life of machinery and aggregates Vocabulary; Trilingual version

Compatibility of pollutant loads of sludge liquor (cen- [3] DIN EN 12832 (November 1999): Characterisation of
trate/filtrate) with the wastewater treatment plant sludges Utilisation and disposal of sludges Vocabu-
lary; Trilingual version
Compatibility/suitability of the dewatered and possi-
ble post-treated sludge for agriculture and landscap- [4] DIN EN 12255-8 (October 2001): Wastewater treatment
ing (soil, plants) or other downstream measures for plants Part 8: Sludge treatment and storage
reuse or disposal.
[5] DIN EN 12880 (February 2001): Characterisation of
At longer retention times of the sludge in the primary sludges Determination of dry residue and water content
sedimentation tank or the thickener, methane, which is
harmful to climate, strong-smelling substances (e.g. or- [6] DIN 19552 (December 2002): Wastewater treatment
ganic acids), and hydrogen sulphide can be generated due plants Circular tanks Settlement tanks with sludge
to starting pre-acidification or digestion. This fact shall be scraper, suction type sludge remover and thickener;
Types, main dimensions, equipment
evaluated carefully, taking into account explosion protec-
tion guidelines [7]. Furthermore, for activated sludge [7] Explosionsschutzverordnung (ExVO): Elfte Verordnung
systems with biological phosphorus removal an increased zum Gerte- und Produktsicherheitsgesetz (11. GPSGV)
redissolution of phosphorus can occur with the possible vom 12. Dezember 1996. Stand: zuletzt gendert durch
consequence of mass growth of filamentous bacteria. Artikel 18, Gesetz vom 06.01.2004, BGBl. I S. 2

During high-pressure cleaning of sludge treatment ag- [8] ATV: Eindickung von Klrschlamm. Arbeitsbericht des ATV/
gregates germ-infected aerosols can be generated. Ade- BDE/VKS-Fachausschusses 3.2. In: KA-Korrespondenz
quate measures for the protection of operating personnel Abwasser, 1/1998, S. 122134
are required.
[9] ATV: Entwsserungskennwerte. Arbeitsbericht des ATV/
BDE/VKS-Fachausschusses 3.1. In: KA-Korrespondenz
Only an overall view and consideration of technical- Abwasser, 3/1992, S. 401408
economical consequences make it possible to decide on
suitability of various thickening processes for a concrete [10] ATV-DVWK: Merkblatt ATV-DVWK-M 366 (Oktober 2000):
individual case. Maschinelle Schlammentwsserung. Hennef: Gesellschaft
zur Frderung der Abwassertechnik e. V. (GFA)
Low investment costs of a thickening system for example
might be contrasted by high operational and consequen- [11] ATV: Auswahl und Einsatz von organischen Flockungs-
tial costs (e.g. by multi-shift operation, post-treatment, hilfsmitteln Polyelektrolyten bei der Klrschlamment-
wsserung. Arbeitsbericht des ATV/BDE/VKS-Fachaus
wear and tear).
schusses 3.2. In: KA-Korrespondenz Abwasser, 4/1992,
S. 569580
It is important that operational tests are realised as far as
possible before selecting a process or an aggregate, since [12] ATV: ATV-Handbuch Mechanische Abwasserreinigung;
results from other treatment plants cannot be transferred Kap. 3.6 Feststoffabtrennung durch Flotation, S. 221. 4.
reliably. This is mostly also true for tests which have been Aufl. Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1997
conducted with machinery of insufficient size (scale-up-
effect). Guarantees given without extensive preliminary [13] ATV: ATV-Handbuch Klrschlamm. 4. Aufl. Berlin:
testing should be judged sceptically. Ernst & Sohn, 1996

[14] ATV-DVWK: Rckbelastung aus der Schlammbehandlung


For the dimensioning of thickening systems, variations
Menge und Beschaffenheit der Rcklufe. 1. Arbeitsbe-
and fluctuation ranges of the thickenability of the sludge, richt der ATV-DVWK-Arbeitsgruppe AK-1.3 Rckbelas-
which were detected during the test period and are to be tung aus der Schlammbehandlung. In: KA-Korrespondenz
expected for the planned application period of the aggre- Abwasser, 8/2000, S. 11811187
gate, shall be considered. For this suitable sludge parame-
ters should be investigated and documented. [15] ATV-DVWK: Verfahrensvergleich und Ergebnisse der
mechanischen Klrschlammdesintegration. Arbeitsbericht
For a successful operation, or at least for cost reduction der ATV-DVWK-Arbeitsgruppe AK-1.6 Klrschlammdes-
of operational supplies (e.g. flocculants) and for a integration. In: KA-Korrespondenz Abwasser, 3/2001,
maximum aggregate and service life qualified well- S. 393400
trained personnel is of utmost importance.

DWA Advisory Leaflet October 2007 35


DWA-M 381E

[16] ATV: Feststoffabtrennung durch Entspannungsflotation. [31] ZHOU, J.; MAVINIC, D. S.; KELLY, H. G; RAMEY, W. D.:
Kurzfassung eines Arbeitsberichtes des ATV-Fachaus- Effects of temperatures and extracellular proteins on de-
schusses 2.5. In: KA-Korrespondenz Abwasser, 7/1999, waterability of thermophilically digested biosolids. In:
S. 11251126 Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science
1/2002, S. 409415
[17] Dngemittelverordnung DMV Verordnung ber das
Inverkehrbringen von Dngemitteln, Bodenhilfsstoffen, [32] ATV-DVWK-A 400 (Juli 2000): Grundstze fr die Erarbei-
Kultursubstraten und Pflanzenhilfsmitteln vom 26. No- tung des ATV-DVWK-Regelwerkes
vember 2003. BGBl. I S. 23732437
[33] BGV A1 (April 2005): Grundstze der Prvention vom
[18] DWA: Stand der Klrschlammbehandlung und -entsor- 1. Januar 2004. Aktualisierter Nachdruck April 2005.
gung in Deutschland Ergebnisse der DWA-Klrschlamm- Hrsg.: Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossen-
erhebung 2003. DWA-Themen; Hennef, Oktober 2003 schaften (HVBG). Sankt Augustin

[19] DWA: Einsatz von polymeren Flockungshilfsmitteln in


der Klrschlammbehandlung vor dem Hintergrund der
neuen Dngemittelverordnung vom 26. November 2003.
Arbeitsbericht der DWA-Arbeitsgruppe AK-2 Stabilisie-
rung, Entseuchung, Konditionierung, Eindickung und
Entwsserung von Schlmmen und AK-2.3 Konditionie-
rungen. In: KA-Korrespondenz Abwasser, 1/(2005),
S. 6873

[20] DVGW: DVGW W 221-2: Rckstnde und Nebenprodukte


aus Wasseraufbereitungsanlagen, T.2: Behandlung, 2/2000

[21] BAU, K.: Rationeller Einsatz der aerob-thermophilen Stabi-


lisierung durch Rohschlamm-Vorentwsserung. Schriften-
reihe WAR, Band 29, 1986. Darmstadt: Eigenverlag

[22] DENKERT, R.: Einflsse auf die Leistungsfhigkeit und


Wirtschaftlichkeit einer prozessgesteuerten Dekantier-
zentrifuge zur berschussschlammeindickung. Schriften-
reihe Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, Band 12. 1988, Bochum

[23] DENKERT, R.: Maschinelle Eindickung von Klrschlamm


Betriebsversuche auf der Hauptklranlage Mnster. Vor-
trag 3. ATV-Klrschlammtage 05.-07.05.2003 in Wrzburg

[24] DURTH, A.; SCHAUM, C.: Ergebnisse der DWA Klr-


schlammerhebung 2003. Vortrag 4. ATV-Klrschlamm-
tage 04.-06.04.2005 in Wrzburg

[25] EWERT, W.: Persnliche Mitteilungen, 2005

[26] KAPP, H.: Schlammfaulung mit hohem Feststoffgehalt.


Stuttgarter Berichte zur Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, Bd.
86, 1984. Kommissionsverlag R. Oldenburg

[27] KOPP, J.: Wasseranteile in Klrschlammsuspensionen Source of Supply


Messmethode und Praxisrelevanz. Verffentlichungen
des Institutes fr Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, Technische DWA Publications:
Universitt Braunschweig, Heft 66, 2001 German Association for Water,
Wastewater and Waste, Hennef, Germany
[28] MOSHAGE, U.: Rheologie kommunaler Klrschlmme
Messmethoden und Praxisrelevanz. Institut fr Sied-
lungswasserwirtschaft, Technische Universitt Braun- BG-Vorschriften und -Regelwerk
schweig, Heft 72, 2004 Sicherheit & Gesundheitsschutz:
[Accident prevention regulations]
[29] STALMANN, V.: Untersuchungen zur Technik der Eindickung <www.arbeitssicherheit.de>
am Beispiel von Emscher-Belebtschlamm und zu den tech-
nisch-wirtschaftlichen Auswirkungen der Eindickung auf German Social Accident Insurance
Folgeprozesse der Abwasserschlamm-Behandlung. Verf-
(DGUV), Berlin
fentlichungen des Instituts fr Siedlungswasserwirtschaft
der TH Hannover, Heft 19, 1965
DIN Standards:
[30] T.O.R. Handbuch Champion 3D; T.O.R. Engineering German Institute for Standardization
GmbH, Bergisch-Gladbach, 1997 Beuth Verlag GmbH, Berlin

36 October 2007 DWA Advisory Leaflet


DWA_M_381E_Um.qxd 27.08.2010 17:06 Seite 1

Sewage sludge produced during wastewater treatment contains very little solids quantities. In order to
enable an economically and technically sensible operation of down-stream treatment processes a solids GERMAN
concentration accompanied by a volume reduction is indispensable. Therefore, thickening of sewage slud-
ge is one of the most important basic operations of sludge treatment. It is the easiest and cheapest way to
concentrate solids and to separate solids and liquids during the sludge treatment process. Sludge thicke-
ning is used at virtually every wastewater treatment plant.
DWA Rules and Standards
This Advisory Leaflet first and foremost addresses treatment plant operators as well as planning and opera-
ting engineers and technicians and gives recommendations for the dimensioning, realisation and economic
operation of aggregates for the thickening of municipal sludge. The Advisory Leaflet presents current know-
ledge on process fundamentals and process technology of the various thickening processes and informs
about operating experiences and costs of technically well-established processes.

Advisory Leaflet DWA-M 381E


Sewage Sludge Thickening

October 2007

Eindickung von Klrschlamm

ISBN 978-3-941897-43-4

Deutsche Vereinigung fr Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V.


German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste
Theodor-Heuss-Allee 17 53773 Hennef Germany
Tel.: +49 2242 872-333 Fax: +49 2242 872-100 German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste
E-Mail: kundenzentrum@dwa.de Internet: www.dwa.de Deutsche Vereinigung fr Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V.