Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1770–1780 | Cite as

High-rate activated sludge processes for municipal wastewater treatment: the effect of food waste addition and hydraulic limits of the system

  • Huseyin GuvenEmail author
  • Hale Ozgun
  • Mustafa Evren Ersahin
  • Recep Kaan Dereli
  • Ilknur Sinop
  • Izzet Ozturk
Research Article


Conventional activated sludge (CAS) process is one of the most commonly applied processes for municipal wastewater treatment. However, it requires a high energy input and does not promote energy recovery. Currently, high-rate activated sludge (HRAS) process is gaining importance as a good option to reduce the energy demand of wastewater treatment and to capture organic matter for valorizing through anaerobic digestion (AD). Besides, food waste addition to wastewater can help to increase the organic matter content of wastewater and thus, energy recovery in AD. The objective of this study is to evaluate the applicability of co-treatment of municipal wastewater and food waste in a pilot-scale HRAS system as well as to test the minimal hydraulic retention times (HRTs) such as 60 and 30 min. Food waste addition to the wastewater resulted in a 10% increase in chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration of influent. In the following stages of the study, the pilot-scale system was operated with wastewater solely under the HRTs of 60 and 30 min. With the decrease of HRT, particulate COD removal increased; however, soluble COD removal decreased. The results demonstrated that if the settling process is optimized, more particulate matter can be diverted to sludge stream.


Co-treatment Food waste High-rate activated sludge process Hydraulic retention time Municipal wastewater Particulate chemical oxygen demand 

Abbreviations and nomenclature


anaerobic digestion


anaerobic membrane bioreactor


biological oxygen demand


conventional activated sludge


colloidal chemical oxygen demand


chemical oxygen demand


dissolved oxygen


food/microorganisms ratio (kg COD/kg VSS day)


fat, oils, and grease


high-rate activated sludge


hydraulic retention time


particulate chemical oxygen demand


particle size distribution


return activated sludge


supervisory control and data acquisition


soluble chemical oxygen demand


solids retention time


sludge volume index


total nitrogen


total phosphorus


total solids


total suspended solids


volumetric loading rate (kg COD/m3 day)


volatile solids


volatile suspended solids


waste activated sludge


wastewater treatment plant


zone settling velocity


Funding information

This study was financially supported by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology of Turkey, and Istanbul Environment Management Industry and Trade Company (ISTAC) (Project no. 0534.STZ.2013-2), and Istanbul Technical University Scientific Research Projects Office (Project no. 38833).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3665_MOESM1_ESM.docx (471 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 470 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil Engineering Faculty, Environmental Engineering DepartmentIstanbul Technical University, Ayazaga CampusIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.School of Chemical and Bioprocess EngineeringUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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