WIT Press

Evaluation Of Anaerobic Sludge Activity In Wastewater Treatment Plants In Nicaragua


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L. Korsak & L. Moreno


Sludge of three municipal anaerobic wastewater treatment plants was evaluated. This study was initiated due to the low activity observed in the anaerobic wastewater treatment plants in Nicaragua. An additional goal to select one of them, if possible, as an inoculum for the brewery treatment plant was proposed. Two of these plants work with an Imhoff tank and one with a Septic tank followed by an anaerobic upflow filter. The study consisted in the characterization of biomass in terms of Specific Methanogenic Activity (SMA), Volatile Suspended Solids (VSS), density, pH, and redox potential (RP). The treated waters were also analysed for nutrients, heavy metals and the organic load. The substrate used in the experiments for determining the methanogenic activity was acetic acid. NaHCO3 was added to maintain pH in the normal range of operation. The tests were carried out at a sludge load of 1.5 g VSS/l. The results indicate that treated wastewater does not have any impediment to proper development of microorganisms; no presence of toxic substances and enough essential nutrients were detected. The specific methanogenic activity of sludge (SMA) in the Imhoff tanks is relatively close and oscillates between 0.16- 0.28 g CH4-COD/g VSS/day, and in the septic tank is 0.09 g CH4-COD/g VSS/day. These values agree with the methanogenic activity found in the literature for septic tanks (0.02-0.1 g CH4-COD/gVSS/day). The highest methanogenic activity measured during the test was 0.28g CH4-COD/g VSS/day in the sludge of the Imhoff tank in The Viejo city, so this sludge could be proposed as a seed for the brewery treatment plant. Keywords: anaerobic treatment, sludge, municipal wastewater, specific methanogenic activity, inoculum.


anaerobic treatment, sludge, municipal wastewater, specific methanogenic activity, inoculum.