Commissioning of a novel in-line rheometery system in a wastewater treatment plant for more efficient polymer dosing

27 May 2019

Urbanisation is putting enormous pressure on wastewater treatment plant facilities. Optimising the liquid and sludge process streams in existing plants is one way of prolonging the life span of such installations. Many Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have sludge dewatering installations where treated wastewater sludge is dewatered using belt filter presses amongst others, before final disposal. One of the most expensive inputs in these plants is the polymers used as flocculants. Controlling the optimum dosing in the dewatering process cannot currently be done in real-time. It has been shown that huge savings can be made by optimising the dosing rates of polymers based on the sludge rheology. An Ultrasound Velocity Profiling (UVP) and pressure drop (PD) measurement system was specially designed and commissioned for a WWTP. The system was installed in a WWTP to measure the rheological properties of sludge in-line and in real-time prior to mechanical dewatering using a belt filter press. This non-invasive in-line system was able to accurately measure the rheological parameters in real-time in a 100 mm stainless pipe. It was shown for the first time what the maximum in-line yield stress is that is required for optimum dewatering based on a relationship determined between the yield stress and the total suspended solids in the filtrate exiting the belt filter press.