Behaviors of dewaterability and heavy metals of waste activated sludge conditioned by heat-activated peroxymonosulfate oxidation

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In this work, heat-activated peroxymonosulfate (heat-PMS) oxidation was used to condition waste activated sludge. The results showed that the optimal temperature and PMS dosage for sludge dewatering were 75 °C and 150 mg/g-volatile solids (VS), and the addition of rice husk (100–400 mg/g-VS) was favorable to further enhance sludge dewaterability. Under optimal conditions, the capillary suction time reduction and water content of sludge cake were 82.4% and 65.8%, respectively. The significant improvement of sludge dewaterability was ascribed to the releases of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)-bound water and cell water caused by the significant breakdown of tightly bound EPS, as well as the skeleton effect. In addition, heat-PMS oxidation has been demonstrated with the merits of improving the immobilization of heavy metals (HMs) and weakening their environmental risk. After conditioning, HMs solubilization was enhanced significantly and their leaching toxicity decreased obviously. Meanwhile, HMs were transformed into more stable forms. Therefore, heat-PMS oxidation might be a potential and desirable technology for sludge conditioning with respect to the enhancement of sludge dewaterability and the decrease of HMs environmental risk.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 5



Advanced oxidation processes


Community Bureau of Reference


Capillary suction time


Centrifuged weight


Centrifuged weight reduction


Dissolved organic carbon


Dry solids


Extracellular polymeric substances


Fraction of soluble and exchangeable HMs


Fraction of HMs bound to organic and sulfide


Fraction of HMs bound to iron and manganese oxides


Fraction of residual HMs


Heavy metals


Loosely bound EPS






Risk assessment code


Rice husk


Raw sludge


Soluble EPS


Tightly bound EPS


Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure


Total nitrogen


Total solids


Volatile solids


Waste activated sludge

W C :

Water content of sludge cake


Wastewater treatment plants


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This work was financially supported by the Applied Basic Research Project of Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 2018JY0303), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 21976098 and 21607088), Program of Education Department of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 18ZA0287), and Doctoral Fund Project of Panzhihua University (Grant No. 0210600022).

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Correspondence to Changgeng Liu.

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Huang, Z., Liu, C., Zhu, X. et al. Behaviors of dewaterability and heavy metals of waste activated sludge conditioned by heat-activated peroxymonosulfate oxidation. Chem. Pap. 74, 641–650 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11696-019-00912-9

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  • Waste activated sludge
  • Dewatering
  • Heavy metals
  • Advanced oxidation
  • Heat/peroxymonosulfate