Transport of Sewage Sludge in a Mixed Water Column Academic Article uri icon


  • Sewage sludge from four publicly-owned treatment works was sampled and characterized in terms of parameters affecting transport at the 106-mile deep ocean disposal site as part of the US Environmental Protection Agency's site monitoring programme. Samples from treatment plants in Passaic Valley, Rahway, and Elizabeth, New Jersey and New York City were characterized in terms of dynamic size distribution, suspended solids and density. The transport characteristics of sludge particles were measured using a 2 metre computer-interfaced laboratory settling column. Experiments were conducted at constant salinity (35 ppt) while varying hydrodynamic mixing, sludge type and concentration using a modified factorial experimental design. Hydrodynamic power dissipation was varied so that the vertical dispersion and rms fluid shear rate ranged between 06 cmV1d and 030 s1 respectively. Results indicate that at least 80% of suspended sludge particles will eventually settle under mixed conditions. The average settling velocities ranged between 0.05-4.05 x 103 10-3cm s-1. Shear rates above 15 s1 inhibited sludge settling due to aggregate breakup and boundary effects, but at a lower shear rate, differential settling and fluid shear were the dominant transport mechanisms. Sludge dilution (1/500-1/5000) had a limited effect on the settling rate. Results from this study can be used to calibrate particle transport models to determine the fate of sludge disposed at an ocean disposal site. 1992, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Chemistry and Ecology

author list (cited authors)

  • Bonner, J. S., Ernest, A. N., Hernandez, D. S., & Autenrieth, R. L.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Bonner, JS||Ernest, AN||Hernandez, DS||Autenrieth, RL

publication date

  • September 1992