An examination of the treatment of iron dosed waste activated sludge by anaerobic digestion

DK Johnson, Cynthia Carliell-Marquet, Christopher Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Anaerobic digestion is an important sludge treatment process enabling stabilisation of the organic fraction of sewage sludge prior to land application. Any practice which might retard the anaerobic digestion process will jeopardize the stability of the resulting digested sludge. This paper reports on an investigation into the relative digestibility of iron-dosed waste activated sludge (WAS) from a sewage treatment works (STW) with chemical phosphorus removal (CPR), in comparison to WAS from a works without phosphorus removal. Two laboratory scale anaerobic digesters (51) were fed initially with non iron-dosed WAS (Works M) at a solids retention time of 19 days. After 2 months the iron-dosed CPR sludge (Works R) was introduced into the second digester, resulting in a 32% decrease in biogas production and an increase in the methane content of the biogas from an average of 74% to 81%. Pre-treatment of the CPR sludge with sodium sulphide and shear, both alone and in combination, caused the gas production to deteriorate further. Pre-acidification and pre-treatment with EDTA did result in an enhanced gas production but it was still not comparable with that of the digester being fed with non-iron-dosed sludge. The daily gas production was found to be linearly related to the amount of bound iron in the sludge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-945
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2003


  • iron dosing
  • anaerobic digestion
  • activated sludge
  • gas production


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