Chemical Sludge

Chemicals are used widely in wastewater treatment, especially in industrial wastewater treatment, to precipitate and remove hard-to-remove substances, and in some instances, to improve suspended solids removal. In all such instances, chemical sludges are formed. A typical use in removing a substance from wastewater is the chemical precipitation of phosphorus. The chemicals used for phosphorus removal include lime, alum, and "pickle liquors" such as ferrous chloride, ferric chloride, ferrous sulfate, and ferric sulfate. Some treatment plants add the chemicals to the biological process; thus, chemical precipitates are mixed with the biological sludge. Most plants apply chemicals to secondary effluent and use tertiary clarifiers or tertiary filters to remove the chemical precipitates. Some chemicals can create unwanted side effects, such as depression of pH and alkalinity of the wastewater, which may require the addition of alkaline chemicals to adjust these parameters.

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