The potential for reuse of iron-rich sludge from waterworks as a replacement for commercial iron salts in wastewater treatment was investigated using acidic and anaerobic dissolution. The acidic dissolution of waterworks sludge both in sulphuric acid and acidic products such as flue gas washing water and commercial iron solution was successful in dissolving the iron from waterworks sludge. The anaerobic dissolution of waterworks sludge due to co-digestion with biological sludge (primary and biological activated sludge) resulted in reduction of iron, increase in dissolved iron(II), increase in pH due to the produced alkalinity from dissolution of iron(III)hydroxides from waterworks sludge, lower internal recirculation of phosphate concentration in the reject water and reduced sulphide in the digested liquid. However, recirculation of the produced soluble iron(II) as an iron source for removal of phosphate in the wastewater treatment was limited, because the dissolved iron in the digester liquid was limited by siderite (FeCO3) precipitation. It is concluded that both acidic and anaerobic dissolution of iron-rich waterworks sludge can be achieved at the wastewater treatment plant, and are economically and environmentally more favourable compared to deposition of the waterworks sludge in controlled landfills.
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2013, Vol 10, Issue 6, p. 1157-1166