Activated sludge is a process in sewage treatment in which air or oxygen is forced into sewage liquor to develop a biological floc which reduces the organic content of the sewage. In all activated sludge plants, once the sewage has received sufficient treatment, excess mixed liquor is discharged into settling tanks and the supernatant is run off to undergo further treatment before discharge. Part of the settled material, the sludge, is returned to the head of the aeration system to re-seed the new sewage entering the tank. The remaining sludge is further treated prior to disposal.
Activated sludge: Biomass produced in raw or settled wastewater (primary effluent) by the growth of organisms in aeration tanks in the presence of dissolved oxygen. The term "activated" comes from the fact that the particles are teeming with bacteria, and protozoa. Activated sludge is different from primary sludge in that the sludge contains many living organisms which can feed on the incoming wastewater.
Activated Sludge Process: A biological treatment process in which a mixture of sewage and activated sludge is agitated and aerated. The activated sludge is subsequently separated from the treated sewage by settlement and may be re-used. A common method of disposing of pollutants in wastewaters.
In the process, large quantities of air are bubbled through wastewaters that contain dissolved organic substances in open aeration tanks. Oxygen is required by bacteria and other types of microorganisms present in the system to live, grow, and multiply in order to consume the dissolved organic "food", or pollutants in the waste. After several hours in a large holding tank, the water is separated from the sludge of bacteria and discharged from the system. Most of the activated sludge is returned to the treatment process, while-the remainder is disposed of by one of several accepted methods.
Sewage is domestic, municipal, or industrial liquid waste products. How it is disposed varies by the area, and the local commitment to the environment. In some countries, notably the United States, national law mandates sanitary treatment of sewage, and outfalls are regulated. Surprisingly, many quite wealthy countries have untreated outfalls directly to surface water, often causing disease, pollution and undrinkable tapwater.
Sewage may be carried directly through pipelines to outfalls, or from upstream sources via river systems. Sewage is often from storm water runoff of streets, parking lots, lawns and commercial and industrial areas. In some urban areas, sewage is carried separately in sanitary sewers while runoff from streets is carried in storm drains. Access to either of these is typically through a manhole.
Sewage may drain directly into major watersheds with minimal or no treatment. When untreated, sewage can have serious impacts on the quality of an environment and on the health of people. Pathogens can cause a variety of illnesses. Some chemicals pose risks even at very low concentrations and can remain a threat for long periods of time because of bioaccumulation in animal or human tissue.
The solution, of course, is sewage treatment. Read More