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Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) was rapidly cultivated in an integrated oxidation ditch with two-zone clarifiers by using a novel external sludge treatment and return mode to treat low concentrations of actual domestic sewage. The selective pressure created by the two-zone clarifiers can retain the well-settling granules and discharge light flocs with poor settleability. The granules stayed in the reactor, which induced bacterial attachment to the granules that acted as nuclei, while the discharged flocs can stimulate microorganisms to secrete large amounts of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) under the external conditioning of CaCl and natural air drying. Then, this surplus sludge was returned to the reactor to create more small granules that combined with each other through the action of hydraulic shear forces to achieve rapid granulation. The results showed that AGS was formed successfully in the reactor on day 18, and after 51 days of continuous operation, the biomass concentration and settling ability were further improved (the mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) and sludge volume index at 5 min (SVI) were stable at approximately 3500 mg/L and 40.0 mL/g, respectively). During the whole experimental period, the biological sludge activity was greatly improved, and the EPS and microbial community changed significantly, including an enrichment of microbes with EPS secretion and granule stabilization functions. The study results reveal that the pollutant removal efficiency improved after granulation. Furthermore, this approach required less energy and is eco-friendly for potential full-scale implementation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Water research
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