Name of the Student : Mohammad Shayyah
Name of the supervisor/s :

Dr. Nidal Mahmoud

Title of the thesis :

Community On-site Anaerobic Sewage Treatment In a UASB-Septic Tank System

Abstract :  

In Palestine, cesspits are the most known and commonly applied on-site methods for wastewater disposal and sewage pre-treatment. However, the present practical mode of those low-rate anaerobic pre-treatment units can pose a significant risk to public health and to the environment. Therefore, a sanitation intervention is needed and consequently the demand for effective but low-cost wastewater treatment technologies for communities in Palestine, particularly the rural areas, is definitely great. On the basis of already available technical information concerning the UASB-septic tank system performance, the system represents a viable and affordable on-site sanitation alternative for household. However, the performance of these systems in an actual community on-site situation has so far not been investigated especially under Palestine conditions, where the domestic wastewater is characterized by high strength with considerable solids content; and fluctuation in seasonal temperature. Furthermore, the design criteria of the UASB-septic tank system are still to be formulated in Palestine.

The main objective of this thesis was to investigate the performance and feasibility of using the UASB-septic tank reactor for the pre-treatment of domestic wastewater under the conditions that arise at community level in Palestine. Moreover, possibilities to evaluate the influence of HRT on the performance of the UASB-septic tank reactor had also been made, in attempt to optimize the design of the UASB-septic tank system. Community on-site two pilot scale UASB-septic tank reactors treating domestic sewage under two different HRTs (2 days for R1 and 4 days for R2) were operated in parallel at the sewage treatment plant of Al-Bireh City, Palestine. The two reactors were operated for six months at ambient temperature fluctuates between 15 and 34?C with an average value of 24.2oC. Mean sewage temperature during the experiment was 24°C with 18.2 and 29oC extreme values. The wastewater in the study area was characterized by a high concentration of CODtot with an average value of 1189 mg/L, and with a large fraction in the CODsus form around 54% (640 mg/L). Moreover, the raw wastewater was highly biodegradable with an average value of 65% and COD: BOD5 ratio of 2.0. The performance data obtained via regular monitoring of the two reactors showed average removal efficiencies for CODtot, CODsus, BOD5 and TSS of 54, 85, 56 and 79%, respectively for R1. Likewise, the removal efficiencies in R2, for the same parameters were 58, 89, 59 and 80%. R2 was achieved slightly better removal efficiencies compared with R1. The longer HRT imposed to R2 had a significant effect on the CODtot, CODsus, BOD5 and TSS removals. The results of statistical tests on the removal efficiency data sets of the previous parameters also confirmed the enhanced performance of R2 (?<0.05). This suggests that the design HRT = 4 days in UASB-septic tank reactors seems more adequate for the anaerobic treatment of domestic sewage under Palestine conditions. The results revealed that the removals of CODcol and CODdis correlated well with increases in temperature and microbial adaptation. The average CODcol and CODdis removals during the whole period of study were respectively 27 and 12% for R1; and 32 and 14% for R2. The results also revealed that the evolution of biogas production varying and strongly affected by temperature and ecology of both reactors. The average total methane production (gas form + liquid form) from both reactors was 0.1 Nm3/kgCODremoved. The observations made to sludge hold-up in both reactors concluded that, the sludge volume was not increased during the 6 month of operation, however, the sludge concentrations were increased with average values of 46.8 gTS/L and 48.6 gTS/L respectively for R1 and R2 during the whole period, as compared to the first operational period (13.78 gTS/L), indicating the sludge accumulation. Therefore, sludge withdrawal from the reactors is deemed to be after long time of operation. Finally, as a general conclusion, it could be said that the one-step UASB-septic tank reactors configuration is a potential compact and effective community onsite pre-treatment unit for domestic wastewater in Palestine.