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Chemical dissolution of struvite precipitates in pipes from anaerobic sludge digestion

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A Correction to this article was published on 26 February 2020

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Prevention of struvite formation at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is currently possible using several approaches. However, failure of these measures and subsequent spontaneous struvite formation may lead to serious operational problems. A similar problem occurred at a municipal WWTP with enhanced phosphorus removal and anaerobic sludge digestion, where spontaneous struvite precipitation caused clogging of the pipes with digested sludge. For direct struvite dissolution in the sludge pipes, organic and inorganic acidic solutions were investigated. It was shown that using solutions of pH < 1 complete dissolution can be reached within 1–5 days. However, the use of such strong acids was not recommended by the WWTP operator because of a corrosion hazard (old pipes and fittings not made of stainless steel). At pH 2 and 3, the use of acetic acid (CH3COOH) solution can be considered promising. However, because of the heterogeneity of precipitates in the sludge pipes and insecure dissolution, measures for mechanical cleaning, in addition to chemical dissolution, were proposed.

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  • 26 February 2020

    In the original version of this article, in the acknowledgement section the project number is incorrect.


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The contribution was created with the support of the project VEGA 1/0772/16 of the Scientific Grant Agency of the Slovak Republic. The authors are grateful to for the English revision.

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Correspondence to Stanislava Kecskésová.

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Kecskésová, S., Imreová, Z., Martonka, M. et al. Chemical dissolution of struvite precipitates in pipes from anaerobic sludge digestion. Chem. Pap. 74, 2545–2552 (2020).

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