The expected growth in global population will inevitably put pressure on improvement of wastewater treatment systems. Crystalline polymers are often used for coagulation of solids, however, attempts to identify optimal polymer maturation time, with the use of viscosity and electrical conductivity, have not yielded conclusive results.
The first phase was aimed at developing a new methodology to determine the optimal polymer maturation time to yield the highest dewatering. This was done with spectrophotometry and corroborated by spiking sludge with polymers of different age. In addition, the spectrophotometer had the sensitivity to detect changes to polymer temperature, pH, chlorine content, and mixing method. In the second phase of the study the rheological properties of conditioned sludge were used to determine a relationship between the degree of shear and the resulting sludge dewaterability. The rheometer used for measuring sludge network strength was also able to capture the optimal polymer dose range.