Assessing Activated Sludge Morphology and Oxygen Transfer Performance using Image Analysis


The morphology of the microbial communities can have dramatic impacts on not only the treatment performance, but also the energy use performance of an activated sludge process. In this research, we developed and calibrated an image analysis technique to determine key morphological parameters such as the floc diameter and the specific filament length (SFL) and discovered that the SFL has significant impacts on sludge floc size, the specific extracellular polymeric substances production, the settleability, mixed liquor viscosity, and oxygen transfer efficiency. When the SFL increased from 2.5 x 10 9 µm g −1 to 6.0 x 10 10 µm g −1 , the apparent viscosity normalized by the mixed liquor suspended solids concentration increased by 67%, and the oxygen transfer efficiency decreased by 29%. A long solids retention time (SRT) of 40 day reduced SFL, improved sludge settling performance, and improved oxygen transfer efficiency as compared to shorter SRTs of 10 and 20 day. The findings underscore the need to assess microbial morphology when quantifying the treatment performance and energy performance of activated sludge processes.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Activated sludge; Apparent viscosity; Floc diameter; Morphology; Oxygen transfer efficiency; Specific filament length

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Article - Journal

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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2019

PubMed ID