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STA Innovation - Sustainable Reduction of Sludge

April 1, 2021

Taken from the journal Environmental Challenges, the study on the application of the UTN process for sludge reduction in biological plants.

The published article explores the work and study carried out by the University of Trento on a New Process to reduce the amount of sludge from the purification plant.

The UTN system (whose acronym derives from the University of Trento) allows the reduction of sludge in the homonymous conventional activated sludge plants (CAS).


"In the present paper, a new process, whose acronym is UTN (University of Trento) system, is proposed and tested at full scale for reducing the amount of sludge of the wastewater treatment plant. The UTN system allows sludge reduction in conventional activated sludge (CAS) due to the cell lysis, the sludge decay and, above all, to the selection of slow growing microorganism. In this study, the first full-scale UTN system was tested by retrofitting an existing wastewater treatment plant located in Marmirolo (Lombardia, Italy) having a treatment capacity of 6,000 population equivalent (PE).

Performances of the UTN system were evaluated in terms of sludge reduction, together with organic carbon and nutrients removal efficiencies. Results obtained over 10 month of monitoring period, divided in period I (7 months) and period II (3 months), characterized by different operative conditions, have reported a specific sludge production of 0.37 and 0.23 kg TSS per kg of COD removed, respectively; which is 50% and 69% lower than that observed in the reference period when the plant worked under conventional activated sludge process.

Furthermore, results revealed that the UTN system allows a high removal of wastewater typical pollutants, without causing negative effects on the effluent quality, always ensuring compliance with the regulatory discharge limits."
STA Innovation - Sustainable Reduction of Sludge
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