Bolzonella, D., Battistoni, P., Fatone, F. and Passacantando, D.
Application of food waste disposers and alternate cycles process in small decentralised towns: a case study
Water Research, 41, (4), . (doi:10.1016/j.watres.2006.11.023).
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The use of food waste disposers (FWDs) can be an interesting option to integrate the management of municipal wastewaters and household organic waste in small towns and decentralized areas. This strategy can be even more environmentally friendly if a suitable treatment process of the resulting sewage is performed in order to control nutrients emission. However, still nowadays, part of the scientific and technical community considers the application of this technology a possible source of problems. In this study, the FWDs were applied, with a market penetration factor of 67%, in a mountain village of 250 inhabitants. Further, the existing wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was upgraded by applying an automatically controlled alternate cycles process for the management of nutrients removal. With specific reference to the observed results, the impact of the ground food waste on the sewerage system did not show particular solids sedimentation or significant hydraulic overflows. Further, the WWTP was able to face the overloads of 11, 55 and 2 g per capita per day of TSS, COD and TN, respectively. Then, the increase of the readily biodegradable COD (rbCOD/COD from 0.20 to 0.25) and the favourable COD/TN ratio (from 9.9 to 12) led to a specific denitrification rate of some 0.06 kg NO3-N/(kg MLVSS day). Therefore, not only COD removal, but also the total nitrogen removal increased: the denitrification efficiency reached 85%. That led to a better exploitation of the nitrogen-bound oxygen and a consequent reduction of energy requirements of 39%. The final economic evaluation showed the benefits of the application of this technology with a pay back time of 4–5 years.
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