Anaerobic Treatment
The use of microbes in the absence of oxygen for the stabilization of organic material by conversion to methane, carbon dioxide, new biomass and inorganic products. Anaerobic treatment is most suitable for wastewaters with COD concentrations in the high strength range (>2000 mg/l)

Anaerobic Digestion Process

Complex Organics
Acid producing bacteria (acidogens)

Organic acids and H2

CH4 ve CO2
Methane producing bacteria (methanogenics)

Anaerobic Digestion Process
Three Mechanisms Occurring:

Hydrolysis Process – conversion of insoluble high molecular
compounds (lignin, carbohydrates, fats) to lower molecular compounds

Acidogenesis Process – conversion of soluble lower molecular
components of fatty acids, amino acids and sugars (monosaccharides) to lower molecular intermediate products (volatile acids, alcohol, ammonia, H2 and CO2) Methanogenesis Process – conversion of volatile acids & intermediate products to final product of methane and CO2


Anaerobic digestion is one of the oldest process used for the stabilization of sludges. It involves the decomposition of

organic and inorganic matter in the absence of molecular

Process description:
In the anaerobic digestion process, the organic material in mixture of primary settled and biological sludges is converted biologically. Under anaerobic conditions, to a variety of and products including methane (CH4) and carbondioxide. The process is carried out in an airtight reactor. Sludge, introduced

continuously or intermittently, is retained in the reactor for
varying periods of time. The stabilized sludge, withdrawn from the reactor, is reduced in organic and pathogen content.

The two types of commanly used anaerobic
digesters are identified as;  Standard-rate  High-rate

Standard-Rate Digester:
In the standard-rate digestion process; the contents of digesters are usually unheated and unmixed. Detention times for the standard-rate process vary from 30 to 60 days. They are usually carried out as a single-stage process. The functions of digestion, sludge thickening, and supernatant formation are carried out simultaneously. As a result of digestion, the sludge stratifies by forming a supernatant layer above the digesting sludge and becomes more mineralized. As a result of the stratification and the lack of mixing, not more than 50% of the volume of a standard-rate single-stage digester is used. Because of these limitations, the standard-rate process is used to small installations.

High-Rate Digester:
In the high-rate digestion process; the contents of digesters are heated and mixed completely. The required detention time

for high-rate digestion is typically 15 days or less with the
exception of higher loading rates and improved mixing, there are only a few difference between the primary digester in a conventional two-stage process and a single-stage high-rate digester.

Two-stage digestion; frequently, a high-rate digester is coupled in series with a second digestion tank. The first tank is used

for digestion and is heated and equipped wirh mixing facilities.
The primary function of the second stage is to separate the

digested solids from the sopernatant, however additional
digestion and gas production may occur.

Aerobic sludge digestion may be used to treat only :  waste activated sludge Mixtures of waste activated siudge and primary siudge

Activated sludge treatment plant without primary settling

 Volatile solids reduction is equal that obtained anaerobically  Lower BOD concentrations in supernatant liquor  Production of an odorless, humus-like, biologically stable end  Operation is relativeluy easy  Lower capital cost

 A high power cost is associated with supplying the required O2  A digested sludge is produced with poor mechanical dewatering characteristics

 A useful by-product such as methane is not recovered

Process description:
Aerobic digestion is similar to the activated-sludge process. As the supply of available substrate (food) is depleted, the microorganisms begin to consume their own protoplasm to obatin energy for cell maintenance reactions when this occurs, the microorganisms are ssaid to be in the endogenous phase. C5H7NO2 + 7O2 5CO2 + NO3- + 3H2O + H+

Cell tissue is oxidized aerobically to CO2 and H2O and ammonia. The ammonia form this oxdation is subsequently oxidized to nitrate.

An actuality, only about 75 to 80 percent of the cell can be oxidized, the remaining 20 to 25 percent is composed of inert component. A pH drop can occur when ammonia is oxidized to nitarte if the alkalinity of the wastewater is insufficient, chemical addition may be required. Two variation of the process are commonly used:  conventional aerobic digestion (with air)

 high-purity oxygen aerobic digestion
Aerobic digestion with air is the most commonly used process.

Process design:
Factors taht must be considered in designing aerobic digesters include;  Solid reduction  Hydraulic retention time

 Oxygen requirements
 Energy requirements for mixing

 environmental condition such as pH, temperature.


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