Addition of Al and Fe salts during treatment of paper mill effluents to improve activated sludge settlement characteristics

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Metal salts, ferrous sulphate and aluminium chloride, were added to laboratory-scale activated sludge plant treating paper mill effluents to investigate the effect on settlement characteristics. Before treatment the sludge was filamentous, had stirred sludge volume index (SSVI) values in excess of 300 and was moderately hydrophobic. The use of FeSO4 center dot 7H(2)O took three weeks to reduce the SSVI to 90. Microscopic examination showed that Fe had converted the filamentous flocs into a compact structure. When the iron dosing was stopped, the sludge returned to its bulking state within four weeks. In a subsequent trial, the addition of AICl(3) initially resulted in an improvement of the settlement index but then caused deterioration of the sludge properties. It is possible that aluminium was overdosed and caused charge reversal, increasing the SSVI. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2926-2934
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • metal salts, paper mills, foaming, flocs, filaments, surface charge, settlement, activated sludge, hydrophobicity