Activated Sludge Formation

The formation of activated sludge is achieved in three steps. The first step is the transfer of food from the wastewater to the organisms, second is the conversion of wastes to a usable form, and third is flocculation:

1. Transfer— Organic matter (food) is transferred from the water to the organisms. Soluble material is absorbed directly through the cell wall. Particulate and colloidal matter is adsorbed to the cell wall, where it is broken down into simpler soluble forms and then absorbed through the cell wall.

2. Conversion—Food matter is converted to cell matter by synthesis and oxidation into end products such as CO2, H2O, NH3, stable organic waste, and new cells.

3. Flocculation—Flocculation is the gathering of fine particles into larger particles. This process begins in the aeration tank and is the basic mechanism for removal of suspended matter in the final clarifier. The concentrated biofloc that settles and forms the sludge blanket in the secondary clarifier is known as activated sludge.

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Guide to Alternative Fuels

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