Sustainability | Free Full-Text | Geotextile Tube Dewatering Performance Assessment: An Experimental Study of Sludge Dewatering Generated at a Water Treatment Plant

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Using geotextile tubes as dewatering technology may significantly contribute to sustainable treatment of sludge generated in different industries, such as the water industry. This is an economical alternative for dewatering sludge from a Water Treatment Plant (WTP), which prevents sludge from being directly deposited in water bodies and makes it possible to then transfer the sludge to landfills. This paper presents a laboratory study and a statistical analysis, carried out to evaluate the geotextile tube dewatering of sludge from a WTP, discussing the relation between the independent variables (initial Total Solids (TS) of the sludge and polymer dosing) and dependent variables (performance indices used in the literature) evaluated using semi-performance tests. Sludge from a WTP and three different types of geotextiles bags were used. Changes in the geotextiles’ characteristics after dewatering were also evaluated, quantitatively using permittivity tests and qualitatively by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The results indicated turbidity of effluent that met the Brazilian regulations for the discharge of effluents into Class 2 water bodies, as well as higher percent-solids than those obtained with mechanical dewatering technologies. This study underscores the importance of semi-performance tests to understand dewatering in geotextile tubes.
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