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Researchers identify a simple way to precipitate phosphorus from the wastewater of a pulp mill
Date:11/21/2012

Researchers at Aalto University have developed a simple method for reducing the amount of phosphorus in the wastewater of a pulp mill. The method is called simultaneous precipitation using iron sulphate. A separate treatment stage is not required, as the precipitation takes place simultaneously with the actual biological wastewater treatment.

Iron sulphate is added to the wastewater prior to the biological wastewater treatment process, and the phosphorus dissolved into the water is precipitated with the biomass at the treatment plant. Finally, the phosphorus is removed from the plant with the sludge. In Finland, sludge is generally burned, in which case the phosphorus would end up in the ashes and would thus be reusable in the form of fertilizers, for example.

  • At best, the amount of phosphorus in the wastewater was reduced by more than 80 per cent, when the amount of iron fed into the process was 10 milligrams per litre,' commented researcher Sakari Toivakainen, who is currently preparing his doctoral dissertation.

Simultaneous precipitation creates savings in wastewater treatment costs

Public authorities are calling for the lowering of phosphorus emissions. For this reason, many factories have adopted an additional post-treatment precipitation stage, which is usually implemented using aluminium.

  • Post-treatment precipitation using aluminium produces difficult-to-process sludge. On the whole, simultaneous precipitation would seem to be a more advantageous option, Timo Laukkanen, Doctor of Science (Technology), concludes.

Simultaneous precipitation does not require additional wastewater treatment units, so there is no need for additional energy in the treatment of the water, either. An additional benefit of the method is that iron sulphate is an inexpensive chemical. A municipal wastewater treatment plant in Saint Petersburg constructed a few years ago employs simul
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Contact: Sakari Toivakainen
sakari.toivakainen@aalto.fi
Aalto University
Source:Eurekalert  

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