water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552

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Assessing dewatering performance of drinking water
treatment sludges
David I. Verrelli 1, David R. Dixon, Peter J. Scales*
Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010,
Australia

article info

abstract

Article history:

A comparison of the dewaterability of a range of water treatment plant sludges has been

Received 13 May 2009

completed through computation of dewatering performance indicators for a diaphragm

Received in revised form

filter press. Real parameter data, obtained from the characterisation of alum and ferric

11 October 2009

sludges, generated under precisely controlled conditions, was used for input to

Accepted 29 October 2009

a phenomenological model. Comparisons of dewaterability based on throughput curves

Available online 3 November 2009

largely agree with previous analysis of the underlying parameter data. The difference in
approach provides a quantification of benefit. Greater throughputs and output concen-

Keywords:

trations are predicted at the lowest coagulant doses and at pH w 6. Typical industrial cloth

Alum

resistances consistently reduce throughput by a factor of 3–7, but the assessment of

Ferric

relative benefit is shown to be insensitive to this parameter. Quantitative agreement of the

Coagulation

predictions with observed performance can be attained. Finally, the twin effects of solids

Sludge

loading and dewaterability are assessed together, showing that each has a significant

Dewatering

influence on the required filter surface area. This quantification shows that high coagulant

Filtration

doses adversely affect both of these aspects, leading to filter area requirements larger than
might otherwise be expected.
ª 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1.

Introduction

The problem of what to do with sludges produced in
conventional coagulation processes for potable water treatment has received sporadic attention over several decades
(Neubauer, 1968). Concern has steadily risen due to the
countervailing demands to supply water satisfying increasingly stringent requirements and to reduce waste disposal
costs and environmental impacts.
The sludges themselves are typically quite inert. Particular
motivations include the desire to reduce loss of water held
in the sludge matrix, throughput optimisation d i.e.

maximisation of sludge dewatering rate for a given dewatering device d and the increasingly limited (and expensive)
options available for disposal. The ultimate objective is to
maximise the quality and minimise the quantity of sludge
while assuring the quality of the treated water.
It is widely known that sludge properties vary over time at
a given water treatment plant (WTP) and also differ between
WTPs. This variation can be attributed to variation in the
quality of the raw water and to differences in the coagulation
regime d the latter often determined largely by the former.
To assess the impact of individual changes in the treatment conditions, it is important to have an objective means of

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ61 3 8344 6480; fax: þ61 3 8344 4153.
E-mail addresses: david.verrelli@csiro.au (D.I. Verrelli), drdixon@unimelb.edu.au (D.R. Dixon), peterjs@unimelb.edu.au (P.J. Scales).
1
Current affiliation: CSIRO, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia.
0043-1354/$ – see front matter ª 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.watres.2009.10.036

i. Harbour et al. difficulties may arise in assessing the overall industrial implications for a specific application. The samples were characterised in terms of both their dynamic and equilibrium behaviour in dewatering. describes the resistance of the material to dewatering. perpendicular to membrane/ cloth (m) Cloth resistance term (Pa s/m) Volume fraction of solids (m3/m3) Output value of 4 (m3/m3) Initial value of 4 (m3/m3) Value of 4 at the gel point (m3/m3) Equilibrium value of 4 for given Dp (m3/m3) plant sludges were also included for validation purposes. The information is helpful in determining concrete effects of the coagulation conditions. known as the gel point. for some devices phenomenological models have not yet been established d although the underlying theory is still applicable d such as for a pusher centrifuge. with systematically varied treatment conditions.e. A more comprehensive experimental study has recently been conducted based primarily on sludges generated in the laboratory from actual raw water under precisely controlled conditions (Verrelli et al. which is true at and above a threshold value. An equilibrium parameter. Unfortunately. with the exception of a limited number of pilot plant trials. to centrifugation. R is called the ‘hindered settling function’. a hybrid function of R(4) and py(4). 4g. such measurements provide limited information for quantitative prediction: it can be difficult or impossible to infer behaviour in the case of significant differences in solids concentration. Analysis of the py(4) and R(4) data obtained in that study indicated inter alia that:  dewatering was optimised at low coagulant doses and at pH w 6. the parametric data can be used as inputs to models for the dewatering device(s) of interest. It can also be unclear precisely how a quantum of improvement in compressibility or permeability will relate to such industrial concerns as the output solids concentration or the throughput. independent of the dewatering regime. 2000).. to sludge filtration (including consolidation/ ‘expression’). In all cases the samples were collected from full-scale plants. In principle such data can form the basis for dewaterability comparisons over the full 4 domain. The later papers reported only the ‘solids diffusivity’. 2005). py(4). with one of the most common being capillary suction time (CST) (Gates and McDermott. 2004). or operation.  alum and ferric sludges had similar magnitudes of py(4) and R(4). The theoretical development and practical implementation of this phenomenological theory has been described in the literature (Landman and White. 2001. solidosity). R(4). in applied load. Early results for WTP sludges were reported by Aziz. Modelling of . A selected number of plant and pilot V z hL rcloth 4 4f 40 4g 4N 1543 Specific filtrate volume (m) Spatial ordinate. Nevertheless. (2004) separately investigated dewatering of laboratorycoagulated clay-humate dispersions in terms of py(4). construction. 1994. Measurements and validations have been performed on numerous particulate systems. Thus py is called the ‘compressive yield stress’. 2000. or one may have favourable compressibility characteristics for all 4. in any application: from clarification (‘free settling’) to thickening (‘hindered settling’).) To establish these relationships and to obtain more application-focussed indications of dewaterability. if a clarifier is operated with minimal accumulation of flocs at the base as a ‘bed’ or ‘blanket’.. such as the impact of a change in flocculant. The sludge can only withstand a load if its constituent particles form an interconnected network. describes the maximum stress which the sludge matrix is able to withstand without undergoing irreversible deformation. and co-workers (Aziz et al. Eaton et al. 2006. Harbour. 4. although ferric sludges were less sensitive to coagulation pH. 2009). or in dewatering device type. It can also be used in equipment sizing calculations at design time and for optimising a unit operation (Stickland et al. Such a process can be classed as ‘rate-limited’..water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 Nomenclature h h0 hN Dp py Q R t Sludge (interface) height (m) Initial sludge (interface) height (m) Equilibrium sludge (interface) height (m) Applied pressure (kPa) Compressive yield stress (kPa) Volumetric throughput flux (m/s) Hindered settling function (resistance to dewatering) (Pa s/m2) Time (s) quantifying sludge dewaterability. It should be noted that experience will reduce the need for device modelling in some instances.. and so is inversely related to permeability. For example. On the other hand. Jarvis et al.. Dixon et al.. 2008). A more systematic approach characterises sludge dewaterability in terms of two parameters that are both functions of the solid volume fraction (i. but inferior permeability. and to access experimentally-prohibitive treatment regimes. 4N is the equilibrium value of 4. 2004. without dewatering. in comparing two sludges there may be a crossover in the two py(4) curves. A large number of sludges were produced. Decisions can then be made on the basis of throughput or final solids concentration. each across a broad span of solid volume fractions covering conditions from unnetworked suspensions all the way up to compacted filter cakes. Bu¨rger et al. A rate parameter. For example. 1997. 1968. (In this paper comparisons of ‘compressibility’ refer to the magnitude of 4N for a given stress. These parameters are material properties.e. then py(4) can be essentially ignored and assessments made much more simply by considering only R(4). Historically a wide range of empirical measurements have been used for this purpose.. Additional data has since been presented by Stickland (2005).

It is beyond the scope of the present article to review the theory of each operation in any detail. The equipment is also easy to procure. 2008. and have been implemented in B-SAMS. Landman and White. 2. h(t) d representing the interface of the sludge with either supernatant. Scenario Dewatering of representative alum and ferric sludges was modelled for a diaphragm filter press (or ‘membrane filter press’). Important steps in the procedure are presented in the form of a flow chart in Fig. This permits the quantitative assessment of relative benefits. Analogous computations can be made for other dewatering units. especially for generating subsequent simulation predictions d subject to practical experimental constraints). Steady-state permeation requires only an analytic calculation in the manner of Darcy. First. In order to open up this approach to a wider audience. These values were . It makes a comparison between assessment of this throughput data and assessment of the underlying py(4) and R(4) data. 1993.g. or use of ad hoc correction factors. 2006. would permit conclusions to be drawn on the relative importance of py and R industrially. Such assessments have not been made in previous simulation studies (including those using the same models as here). This work demonstrates the use of comprehensive dewatering parameter data to obtain throughput and output data for a particular dewatering device. interested readers are directed to the overview contained in Verrelli (2008).. material is pumped under pressure into the cavities and some dewatering occurs as liquid passes out through the filter cloth. fundamental characterisation data for several WTP sludges has been used in a model of filtration.g. expressed in terms of py(4) and R(4). Such a press normally operates in two stages: first. in a more industrially amenable way with the aid of predictions from computer model simulations. quantification of dewaterability variation in terms of throughput would enable the past conclusions to be validated in a practical context. Materials and methods 2. Another option would be to implement the simpler algorithm described recently by Grassia et al. and are lower than an industrial WTP filtration press would use. (2009). and will be decided based on the range of 4 that is of interest. 2008). V(t). However. such as for the dynamic settling analysis: for convenience we have developed a software tool in house.. 1997) or have considered the effect of different device operating and design specifications on dewatering performance for a single sludge (Stickland et al. (The number of characterisation techniques implemented is up to the user.2. These rigs can be supplied complete with operating and logging software to interested parties who do not wish to construct their own. The operating pressures were specified as 100 and 300 kPa for the ‘fill’ and ‘squeeze’ stages.. due principally to de Kretser. that performs this analysis.1544 water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 devices in which shear has a major role would require extensions to the theory. For other scenarios such as the plate and frame filtration model described by Stickland et al. as described by Verrelli et al. filtration under constant loads. and steady permeation. graduated cylinder for settling) and standard laboratory apparatus (e. second. These pressures are more typical of the laboratory filtration rig. 1991. which have tended to either investigate features of the dewatering process for one or two hypothetical ‘model’ materials that are assumed to be representative (Landman et al. bench-top ‘bucket’ centrifuge). where the design. The experimental process of characterising a sludge is not difficult conceptually. Key model parameters are given in Table 1. A range of dewatering unit operations can then be modelled using the py(4) and R(4) data as inputs. 2001b). 1984). In other cases the analyses are somewhat more involved. a library of ‘notebook’ files has been developed that contains source code to be run under Mathematica.. The data extraction follows principles and theories set out in detail in the literature for each technique. 2009). Overall procedure The focus of the present work is on interpreting the results of previous experimental dewaterability measurements. For temporal data often automated data logging is convenient. the inflow line is shut off and a bladder is inflated at high pressure to ‘squeeze’ the cake against the filter cloths. as in the cases of equilibrium settling analysis (Tiller and Khatib. The past conclusions regarding the effect of coagulant dose and coagulant pH on the dewatering parameters py(4) and R(4) provided useful pointers for WTP design and operation. Landman and Russel. In principle these measurements can be conducted manually. namely a pressure filter. The main exception is the filtration rig. which are simply obtained from a series of weighings. and would confirm the magnitude of the dewaterability variation in processing terms. To achieve this end. The progression of the dewatering process itself generally requires measurements that record either a decline.. BSAMS. In the case of centrifugation. Experimentally derived py(4) and R(4) data were used as further inputs (Verrelli. is especially configured to ensure accurate measurement of the stress applied at the face of the piston in contact with the sample (de Kretser et al. In some cases quite simple calculations suffice to obtain the dewaterability metrics. air or a piston d or a specific permeate volume. Due to time and sample constraints only the settling and filtration techniques were applied to obtain the data sets used in the present work. The tool can be supplied to interested parties who do not wish to develop their own alternative. (2008). py(4) and R(4) data from these two sources was combined using B-SAMS to obtain smooth fits. 2. as an example of a typical industrially important dewatering operation. 1. to obtain quantitative predictions of throughput and cake solids concentrations. 2008 (investigated herein). the computations for steady-state thickening are also straightforward. the coupling of the consolidation with the local acceleration means that accurate data extraction is only possible by an iterative process of refinement that cycles through parameter estimation and dewatering reprediction. in the form of standard laboratory glassware (e. the procedure that was followed is described.1. Verrelli et al. and this is often appropriate for equilibrium measurements. as we have applied in the case of filtration. it is necessary to measure solid fractions.

a well-optimised filtration schedule could specify shorter squeeze times. similar to that discussed by Stickland et al. zero cloth resistance and 40 < 4g. but are not expected to affect the general conclusions. Indeed.3. 2. This program utilises the shooting method described by Landman et al. There would have been negligible change in cake solids at longer times. The shapes with heavy outlines denote operations carried out in the present study. 1 – Flow chart showing important steps in the procedure of generating dewatering predictions for real materials from the computer models. (2008). 1997) to predict cake formation in the special case of constant pressure. Although up to 10 h was permitted for the high-pressure stage. 1545 Model A diaphragm filter press model was employed. (1991).water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 chosen for compatibility with the py(4) and R(4) data. typically the simulations predicted a practical equilibrium after about 30 to 40 min of diaphragm inflation. . as little benefit accrues over the last few minutes. The program is also capable of optionally utilising a (numerical) similarity solution approach (Landman and White. the first two • • • Fig.

2005. the pressure ‘ramping’ time can be significant for WTP sludges (e. For the present work it was assumed that the pressure (from the feed pump) was constant throughout the stage.g. and t is time d from which other derived quantities of interest can readily be computed. When doses greater than w5 mg/L (as the metal) were added to the low to moderately coloured waters investigated herein. Naturally it was expected that these tendencies would be reflected in the predictions obtained for industrial dewatering devices and conditions.. 2009) has shown that (very) low coagulant doses produce a more compressible material. z is the spatial ordinate. The conditions selected for modelling. Stickland.1. 40. 2009). which is: total inflow to filter total time  area   h tfilt þ V tfilt volume in cavity þ filtrate volume ¼ ¼ tfilt þ thandling ½filtration time þ handling time  area Q¼ Parameters such as these can readily be converted into massbased units. The filtration model predicts the transient dewatering in the general form 4(z. and 3000 and 4000 kg/m3 respectively for the low-dose and high-dose laboratory ferric sludges (Verrelli et al. Initially it was thought appropriate to set all of the feed solid volume fractions. 40 represents the initial solid volume fraction. In the squeeze stage no more material is fed to the cavity. 40 Q. The solid fractions are read directly. Stickland et al. It was soon apparent that this meant some materials were loaded well below their gel point. to the same value.t). as if from a thickener Subsumed into handling time Assumed instantaneous.1546 water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 Table 1 – – Key diaphragm filter press model parameters. The pressure is generally larger than in the fill stage and is applied by the inflatable diaphragm. 2005. Q. 3. Only the shooting method technique is available here. Results and discussion Previous work (Verrelli et al. 3. 2008) Set equal to the gel point. 2006) requirements are unlikely to be met for industrial operation.. h(t) and V(t) d in which h is the cavity half-width. Hence. This has the advantage of more accurately simulating the situation where the filter is fed from the underflow of a clarifier or thickener. The program consists of two sequential solution algorithms (regardless of the numerical technique specified). With this program construction it is possible to model:  fixed-cavity filtration (plate filter) d stop the program at the end of the ‘fill’ stage. In the fill stage a cake forms as feed material is pushed into the filter cavity d the model assumes that the cavity is initially full of material at 40. with the .. This stage involves the one-dimensional dewatering of a material with a moving boundary at (assumed) constant pressure. 2700 kg/m3 for the plant ferric sludges. The starting volume fraction profile is determined by the output from the fill stage. This choice also increases the sensitivity of the predictions to the gel-point data. Stickland et al. some value at which none of the materials would be gelled. The results are conveniently expressed in terms of the volumetric solids flux. using the relevant solid-phase density.  variable-volume filtration (diaphragm filter) d run both ‘fill’ and ‘squeeze’ stages. above. checking Industry measurements are of order 1011 Pa s/m (Stickland. to try to ‘average’ the characteristics of the complete py(4) and R(4) curves in this domain and avoid undue emphasis of any localised features or artefacts. and  dead-end filtration (laboratory filter) d specify negligible ‘fill’ time. For the volumetric flux. viz. These are 2500 kg/m3 for all of the alum sludges. in the model. cleaning. yielding less favourable properties. at their respective gel points. 2005) and can be accommodated in the program. 2 presents the predictions from filter press modelling using real dewatering data for several alum sludges. were expressly chosen to cover the whole domain from 4g to 4N(300 kPa). with the first corresponding to the ‘fill’ stage of a filter press and the second to the ‘squeeze’ stage. Alum sludges: dose effects Fig. the same formula applies during both stages of filtration.. considering Dpfill is small Short compared to industry. C4fD. if desired. but Dpfill is smaller too Dpsqueeze  Dpfill is small Modelling continues until equilibrium approached Turnaround time for unloading. Parameter Value Comments First-stage set pressure (Dpfill) Second set pressure (Dpsqueeze) Initial cavity half-width 100 kPa 300 kPa 15 mm Inlet solids fraction (40) Time to load empty cell Time to ramp to Dpfill Time from loading until inflow line shut off Time to ramp to Dpsqueeze Squeeze time Handling time Cloth resistance term (hL rcloth) 4g 0s 0s 3600 s 0s Varies 1800 s w0 Arbitrary value Maximum available from experimental data This is a typical industrial value (Stickland. and average cake solid volume fraction. V is the specific filtrate volume. The previously considered trends are examined in turn and compared with the throughput–output solids benefit assessment. In practice the pressure rises steadily at first and then settles to a steady value. which also has faster dewatering kinetics. the precipitated alum was seen to dominate dewatering behaviour. with the result that the cake that could practicably be obtained would be impractically thin. instead all sludges have been fed into the filter.

In the absence of the above two contentious features of the intermediate-dose sludges.8. greater estimates of R were computed for the 5 mg(Al)/L sludge at high 4 than for the 84 mg(Al)/L sludge. When only the high-dose sludges are considered. they arise because of the intentional specification of model settings that produce significant dewatering in both stages of the filtration operation. so that effectively R(4) is overestimated. often the rheology of the dewatered material is the determining factor. Using the newer approach the advantage for dewatering of operating at a low dose can be quantified as approximately a factor of 2 in terms of solids throughput. the R(4) curve for this sludge at low values of 4 is shifted to lower solids.water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 Fig. Aside from this. These shared features should not be construed as ‘universal’ properties: rather. The dewatering is optimal at pH w 6 and progressively deteriorates as the pH is increased up to a value of 8. The general shape of the curves follows the same trend. it is anticipated that the throughput predictions would be similar to those of the highdose sludges. The predicted throughputs for intermediate doses of 5 and 10 mg(Al)/L were significantly lower than for the highest dose examined. with one plant sample plotted for comparison. The accessible C4fD values are increased by about 30–60%. 3 reflects the dewatering behaviour deduced from py(4) and R(4) and reported previously (Verrelli. as quantified by R(4) with 4 / 4N. Results for very long or very short fill times could look quite different.. Verrelli et al. although the 5 mg(Al)/L sludge has a slightly higher throughput for low C4fD. 3. 3 shows the throughput predictions for a range of alum WTP sludges where the dose has been held at approximately 80 mg(Al)/L and the pH has been varied from 4. a better indication would be obtained by comparing throughputs at some fraction of the maximum potentially attainable C4fD for each sludge. 84 mg(Al)/L. While the model is expressed in terms of volume-based variables. undue importance should not be placed on the maximum throughput: for these curves it occurs at values of the output cake solids that would be unacceptably low for industrial purposes.. As acceptable ‘fluidity’ or ‘solidity’ generally occurs at different 4 for different sludges. 2008.8 to 8. the benefit remains significant. 2009) indicates that there are two separate effects that account for these results. 4g. in the case of the 10 mg(Al)/L sludge the computed gel point. 3 is again approximately a factor of 2. with a peak in solids throughput at relatively early times. followed by a decrease towards a discontinuity at the end of the fill period. at around 30%. reflecting the previous conclusions that above 5– 10 mg(Al)/L the precipitated coagulant dominates dewatering behaviour. as in the analysis presented later. as illustrated on the alternative horizontal and vertical axes here and in the following graph. The benefit in solids throughput predicted for the best case relative to the worst case in Fig. There is also a reduction in throughput when the pH is reduced to pH 4. leading on to a regime of much shallower gradient d almost a plateau d in the ‘squeeze’ stage. is much lower than for the 84 and 5 mg(Al)/L sludges (0. 2009). 2 – Solids throughput as a function of final average cake solid volume fraction for various alum doses. 1547 These observations are in accord with the general conclusions reached in the previous study (Verrelli et al. Alum sludges: pH effects Fig. rather than the equilibrium state. For these highdose sludges the maximum accessible C4fD value can be increased by about 90% through pH adjustment. despite their different provenance. 2009).0. 2008. except that the plant sludge is able to access higher output concentrations. then the preferred operating conditions could be identified as those yielding the greatest throughput for that C4fD.2. Closer inspection of the original data (Verrelli. First. 2 and 3 indicates that the effect due to coagulant dose is most critical in the low dose range. Hence. it is simple to obtain mass-based quantities through multiplication by the applicable solid-phase density. It is immediately clear that superior dewatering performance is predicted for the sludges with the lowest coagulant doses. coagulation pH constant at approximately 6.0024 and 0. However. The behaviour of the two low-dose sludges is very similar. If the objective were to attain a given average cake solids concentration. This reinforces the conclusion that for filtration in industrial WTP applications the limiting factor is the kinetics. Verrelli et al.. beyond 4g.0034) and appears to be an underestimate.0015 compared to 0. Comparing the curves in Figs. when there is a transition from dominance of the raw water constituents to dominance of the precipitated . as a consequence. Second.6. The predictions highlight the importance of R in the throughput calculations. the influence of the slower kinetics becomes more important. quantified by py(4N). the throughput decreases more sharply than for the 84 mg(Al)/L sludge and at the higher solids fractions of industrial interest the predicted throughput is significantly lower. The data is represented in terms of the throughput at which a particular output solids concentration is attained. although their properties were otherwise very similar. As the output solids fraction increases.6. Fig.

.6. 4 – Solids throughput as a function of final average cake solid volume fraction for a selection of ferric sludges coagulated under various conditions. high-pH sludge). due to variations in solid-phase density.4. i. During the ‘fill’ stage the 3. One underlying cause is the incorporation of a practical handling time into the computations. the second factor was never more than half of the first factor. While the filter cloth resistance may control dewatering kinetics under some circumstances. among the laboratory sludges the increase is 70% as the dose is reduced with pH constant at 5. There is little difference in predicted 40 Q among the laboratory sludges for a given C4fD. coagulant.2 (or 1. This reinforces previous findings based on the underlying py(4) and R(4) data.5 for the less permeable sludge. 4. The corresponding increase in accessible C4fD values is as large as 250%. Cloth resistance The cloth resistance in working industrial filter presses has been measured to be much greater than for membrane filters in the laboratory. insensitive to the impact of cloth resistance on throughput calculations. Selected ferric sludges Throughput predictions for a selection of ferric sludges produced under a representative range of conditions are presented in Fig. Fig. However. For clarity only one set of axes are shown. compared to a factor of around 7.e. Table 1). irrespective of the coagulant dose or pH d the main difference lies in the higher maximum output solids fraction that is achievable for the lower-dose material. Previous studies have investigated the influence of cloth resistance for a single material only (Stickland et al. industrial interest lies in a comparison of the relative benefit . 5 therefore show a new and unexpected feature. (The resistance of brand new cloths is negligible. The results displayed in Fig. and so it is of interest to estimate the importance of this resistance for WTP sludge filtration and to confirm that trends for (otherwise) readily and poorly dewaterable sludges still hold true.3. On the contrary. 3. The solids throughput benefit attained by the ferric sludges generated under plant conditions relative to the laboratory sludges is approximately a factor of 2. The higher cloth resistances are obtained as the material is ‘fouled’ or ‘blocked’ by depositions of fine particles and other substances from the sludge/filtrate.3 in the fill stage).) The higher cloth resistance dominates filtration behaviour when it is included in the model. 3 – Solids throughput as a function of final average cake solid volume fraction for alum sludges coagulated at various pH values. (Only volume-based parameter axes are shown. Fig. From a simple ‘resistances in series’ analysis it is expected that a relatively permeable material (such as the low-dose sludge) would be affected more by a change in cloth resistance than would a relatively impermeable sample (such as the high-dose. as seen by comparing the values of C4fD at the ends of the respective fill stages (at which time the cavity volumes are still equal for all scenarios). 2006. 2008). Even in the ‘fill’ stage. 6 shows that the change in hL rcloth resulted in a reduction in throughput in the ‘squeeze’ phase by a factor of slightly more than 3 for the more permeable sludge. all of the laboratory sludges exhibit lower throughputs than the plant sludge samples that were produced under conditions of low coagulant dose and quite high pH. Not only is expression of water from the loaded sludge impeded by the high cloth resistance. cf. with the benefit factor being no more than 1. but the amount of sludge able to be loaded is also drastically reduced. Fig. Thus it is useful to establish whether this relative benefit assessment is robust. resulting in a large reduction in throughput for both sludges.) These predictions show little variation for the laboratory samples.1548 water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 Fig. between two sludges for a given cloth resistance. 5 plots throughput predictions for negligible cloth resistance (1 Pa s/m) and for a typical industrial cloth resistance (hL rcloth ¼ 5  1010 Pa s/m.

0011 for the less permeable (high-dose) sludge. was evaluated by obtaining hL rcloth =2Dp as the slope of a plot of dt=dV2 versus 1=V (Tarleton and Willmer. 2005).22 mm polyvinylidene fluoride membranes. The cloth resistance for the runs in question. and less permeable. Fig. Force-fitting the entire py(4) curve through the experimental data point at 5 kPa allowed acceptable . 5. 1997). This demonstrates a key difference between comparisons of underlying parameter data and comparisons of throughput predictions from device modelling.0049. counter-intuitively suggesting more rapid filtration of the high-dose material according to the governing differential equation (Landman and White. This correctly describes the high-dose material as more resilient to compression.water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 Fig. Rhigh-dose(4) w Rlow-dose(34). the effective 4 corresponding to the prevailing resistance to filtration may not be the same for two different materials in a given application. using 0. 6 – Influence of cloth resistance on filter throughput predictions for alum sludges of good and of poor dewaterability. and for the high resistance it is 50 GPa s/m. This estimate is larger than previous measurements on other laboratory membrane filters (3  109 to 1  1011/m) (de Kretser et al. except with horizontal dilation. It is only for much shorter handling times that throughput of the low-dose sludge is indeed reduced by a factor greater than that for the high-dose sludge. For the present case the low-dose and high-dose sludges have the same general form of R(4) and py(4). The R(40) values are. rate of filtration of the more permeable sludge is indeed more markedly affected by the increase in hL rcloth. Although the low-dose sludge generally has a smaller R for a given value of 4. and similarly for py(4). equivalently.5  1012 and 2. 6. The thrust of this argument is supported by previous analyses (Verrelli. 2008). compared to 0. This yielded an estimate of (4  2)  1011/m (or. 1549 Validation against laboratory filtration A useful test of model reliability is to check whether experimental observations can be back-predicted. for negligible and for typical handling times. respectively. This is demonstrated in Fig. This sample was characterised by duplicate stepped pressure ‘compressibility’ tests.1 was chosen for validation. Given that the relevant trends appear to be largely unaffected by the inclusion or exclusion of a cloth resistance term of industrial magnitude. The laboratory sample generated at 84 mg(Al)/L and pH w 6. The resulting initial model outputs underestimated the true rate and equilibrium extent of filtration by up to approximately 34% and 8% respectively. 5 – Influence of cloth resistance on filter throughput predictions for alum sludges of good and of poor dewaterability. The model was first run using uniformly-weighted curve fits to the dewatering parameter data as inputs. Yet the overall increase in cycle time. Stickland. 2005). For the low resistance hL rcloth is 1 Pa s/m. hL rcloth w 4  108 Pa s/m). and did not greatly affect the filter modelling predictions. If the dilation followed exactly the form given. 1997. cloth resistance was not included in estimates computed in the preceding sections. with no evident errors or artefacts. Namely. then the solids diffusivity of the less permeable (highdose) sludge would be boosted by a factor of order 3 (1  4)2/ (1  34)2 w 3 (on top of the 4-axis scaling). remains small relative to the chosen handling time of 1800 s. but lower than typical industrial filter cloth resistances in use. While it is desirable to incorporate the effects of cloth resistance into any quantitative estimate of throughput. the foregoing analysis indicates that trends of easier or more difficult filtration for a set of sludges can still be correctly identified when cloth resistance is neglected. for a given 4. 3. namely 40 ¼ 4g z 0. However the more permeable (low-dose) sludge has been ‘handicapped’ by loading it at a much greater concentration. Hence the assessment of benefit based on solids throughput is robust. for a given C4fD.5. In fact.2  1011 Pa s/m2.. neglect of this parameter results in a somewhat conservative assessment.

(For non-stop operation the area requirements would be reduced by a factor of 4.0025 and 0. i. The data have been extracted from the throughput curves presented above. In particular. It is supposed that the press will only operate for 6 h each day. The standard computer routine fits a smooth curve between the points at 4 w 0. such as for py(4).e. matching the observation. quantified by py(4N). The solids loadings are estimated by positing a constant 15 mg/L contribution from the raw water. but other interpolations are possible.e. Area requirements that are greater than the ‘ideal’ can be attributed to the influence of dewaterability that is inferior to that of the low-dose laboratory sludge. It is important to recognise that the throughput graphs are presented in terms of volumetric flux of the solids only. cloth resistance did not greatly affect the relative dewaterability of different sludges. Models used feeds with 40 w 0. that for the low-dose sludge) is assumed for all sludges. which equates to roughly three cycles under the given conditions. or due to numerical issues with the model implementation). determining the ‘correct’ interpolation across a wide span requires an iterative procedure. Throughput results generally reflected conclusions reached earlier by comparing py(4) and R(4) curves. Furthermore. 40 Q. Thus a filter of order eight times larger may be required for the latter case. even if two sludges dosed at 10 and 80 mg(Al)/L had the same solids throughput of w3  108 m/s. Thus the difference Implications An advantage of the present approach is that a concrete measure of the difference in dewaterability for a number of sludges can be obtained. Hence the increasing area requirement for the ‘ideal’ curve is based only on the increased solids loading as the coagulant dose is increased. a curve can be constructed indicating the increasing area requirement with coagulant dose (at constant pH). For the ‘ideal’ case the highest throughput rate (viz. for a given 40 Q:  a lower input solid volume fraction implies greater sludge inflow volume (larger Q). the main issue is a lack of experimental R(4) data between 4 w 0. . The sensitivity seen here is greater than that implied by de Kretser et al.) Based on these estimates. The throughput is obtained by assuming 80% of the possible dewatering occurs. meaning that the rate computation was dependent on interpolation across a wide span. The results also confirmed that industrial WTP filtration operations tend to be limited by the kinetics. which has been found to adequately describe the present sludges (Verrelli. The importance of the twin factors of solids loading and inherent dewaterability are illustrated in Fig. Relaxing the requirement for exact quantitative prediction avoids the tedious iterative process of amending the dewatering parameter curves. and would predict faster filtration behaviour. while still providing useful information for industrial purposes.022. affecting the scale of the disposal operation. the focus of the present work is on assessment of relative benefit. despite the equality of 40 Q. Thus. according to the balance 40 Q ¼ C4fD Qcake.  a lower output solid volume fraction implies a greater volume of filter cake. it can be expected that the solids loading of the higherdose sludge would be greater. at least in the first instance. requiring larger equipment (or longer time) to process.0025 and 4N(5 kPa) w 0.6. 3. The influence of pH (at high dose) on the required area can also be seen directly. in much the same way as cloth resistance can often be neglected in these comparisons. based on laboratory alum sludge results. C4fD ¼ 0. standardised to the case of 80% of possible dewatering. It is relatively straightforward to force functional curves to more closely fit data points of interest. Nevertheless. approximately three cycles) per day. as quantified by R(4) with 4 / 4N. For such comparisons it is generally acceptable to simply use the py(4) and R(4) curves systematically optimised using the standard routine.006 to 0. With regard to the rate. The dashed curve marked ‘ideal’ is constructed using the greatest value of 40 Q d namely that for the low-dose laboratory sludge d for all of the sludges. 2008).1550 water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 agreement in the extent of filtration at equilibrium to be achieved. 7 – Influence of coagulant dose and pH on filter surface area requirement. (2001a). and the decrease in generality. The disadvantages are the additional effort required for modelling.009. 7. say. the possibility of magnifying or introducing errors (due to sensitivity to uncertainties in the input parameters. However. a lower-lying interpolation appears reasonable. The validation work shows that quantitative dewatering predictions are reliant on an accurate representation of the dewatering parameters. Fig. and a variable contribution of four times the coagulant dose [mg(Al)/L].022 (based on the well-defined slopes at those two points). in which modelling such as described here would have to be conducted repeatedly for each material in the region of interest until concordance was attained.8 (4N  40) þ 40. with press operation for 6 h (i. the difference may be explained by the greater reliance of the present validation work on low-pressure parameter estimates. rather than the equilibrium state. Nevertheless.

Chemical Engineering Journal 80 (1–3).. A. as used on the full-scale plants investigated herein.R. Conclusions Throughput modelling generally confirms the conclusions reached previously regarding the effects upon dewatering of coagulant type. Melbourne. coagulant dose. Hillis. L. E.A.). Dixon. Scales. American Public Health Association. Filtration at large pressures for strongly flocculated suspensions. D.A. K. This work benefited from the shared expertise of S. K. de Kretser. Dixon. and additional fine-tuning of the curve fits used as inputs to the computation would be required to obtain more quantitative results... Dixon.J. Landman. R.... Dixon.. Australia (unpublished). Water Science and Technology 41 (8). W. Boger. P. The University of Melbourne. D. F. Landman.P. Parsons.R. . Scales. 331–344.A... Fisher. Usher. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science 51. L... Melbourne Water and United Utilities Australia are thanked for provision of raw water and sludge samples. The implications of such assessments for industrial applications are immediately clear. Solid/liquid separation of flocculated suspensions. Scales. Rapid filtration measurement of dewatering design and optimization parameters. de Kretser.. 1158–1168. Aziz. P. Tiller.S. While plots of throughput versus output solids conveniently summarise the relative performance of different scenarios... R..J.. AIChE Journal 51 (4). The results presented are best interpreted as qualitative.. 2004. 2000.. the results herein emphasised the importance of dewatering kinetics. Harbour. A. and the Australian Research Council and The University of Melbourne for provision of a postgraduate scholarship.. 9–16. 2005. The results indicate that the kinetic parameters d hindered settling function (especially at high 4) and cloth resistance d will dominate throughput industrially. However the trends are not expected to change.. VA. P.B. D. R.P. D.R. de Kretser. P. Kilcullen.. Water Science and Technology 44 (10). D. A. Scales. N.M. Jefferson. solids throughput was predicted to improve by a factor of up to 2 by optimising coagulation conditions for dewatering.. Dewatering of flocculated suspensions by pressure filtration.D. Verrelli. D. Concha. 175–246. Stickland. PFPC.V..A. and by a factor of 3 or more for ferric sludges.. Studer. p.R. Scales.. Harbour. 29–36. 2004.F. B. For the scenario investigated. Eldridge.. P. Clesceri. 2005. Scales. Aziz. Lester.J.. P.. P.. FL. Sirakoff.. S.J. Usher and R.. 2001.A. D..G. Eaton..R.. Denver.R. D. F. P. 2008. 63. R. McDermott.J. which also allows the effect of decreasing dewaterability to be seen more clearly. White. (Eds. Bu¨rger. DC/American Water Works Association. 1991. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology d AQUA 53 (8)...A. Applications of the phenomenological theory to several published experimental cases of sedimentation processes. Anderson. Colorado/Water Environment Federation.A.. 105–117. S. 545–552. D. Usher. Acknowledgements The authors wish to acknowledge United Utilities and Yorkshire Water for project sponsorship.A.P. de Kretser.. Characterising natural organic matter flocs. S.R. yielded greater throughput and output solids concentration.. Physics of Fluids A: Fluid Dynamics 5 (3). The Aziz. AIChE Journal 43 (12).P. Gates.. Journal (American Water Works Association) 60 (3).J.D. and coagulation pH:  low doses. 1994. Sludge Project Annual Report to Yorkshire Water and United Utilities. Scales.. A.R.E.J.. S.J. Landman. 1993.J. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology d AQUA 53 (1). C. Output solids concentrations were able to be increased by a factor of 2 or more for alum sludges. Specifically.P. A.. Usher.J..G. American Filtration & Separations Society. K.. R.S. 1971–1986. Tillotson. Estimation of the hindered settling function R(4) from batch-settling tests. Dixon. McCausland. unlike comparisons of R(4) or py(4). 2000. 2004.. P. A. Stickland.P.J.. 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Washington..water research 44 (2010) 1542–1552 between the ‘ideal’ requirement and the true estimates at higher doses indicates the potential for underestimation of required area in filter specification if the effects of changing dewaterability are not taken into account. Prediction of the dewatering of selected inorganic sludges. 79–87. 1758–1769.P.J..

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