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5.5 Dewatering and drying

Dewatering aims to reduce the water content further so that the solids content of the sludge is about 20 % (equivalent to 1 kg dry sludge with 4 L of water). The sludge can then be handled like a solid. Dewatering can be done mechanically using a filter press (employing pressure or vacuum), or a centrifuge. It can also be done using drying beds. A drying bed consists of a 30 cm bed of sand with an under-drainage (Figure 2.43). Sludge is applied on the sand bed and is allowed to dry by evaporation and drainage of excess water over a period of several weeks depending on climatic conditions. Bacterial decomposition of the sludge takes place during the drying process while moisture content is sufficiently high. During the rainy season the process may take a longer time to complete, and sizing the area of the drying beds should take this into account.


Figure 2.43: Sludge drying bed

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