Application of Excess Activated Sludge as Waste Sorbent for Dyes Removal from their Aqueous Solutions

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Organic dyes are widely used in many industries (textiles, food, cosmetics, medicine and biology). These plants produce wastewater containing dyes. Even small amounts of dyes can cause a strong colour of wastewater. Therefore, it is very important to effectively remove residues of these pollutants from the wastewater, before discharging them into the environment. The sorption process is one of the methods used to remove dyes. However this method is often unprofitable economically in comparison with other dye removal processes, due to the high cost of commercial sorbents. Therefore, research is currently conducted in order to find waste materials that can be used as sorbents. The static sorption process of two dyes were carried out (Acid Red 18 and Acid Green 16) with the use of dried excess sludge. The activated sludge (excess) came from a municipal sewage treatment plant that purifies wastewater from carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. During the study the most favourable pH of the process and the contact time of the sorbent with the dyes were determined. It was observed that for both dyes the highest effectiveness of dye removal was obtained at pH = 2. The most favourable contact time was equal to 60 and 180 minutes for Acid Red 18 and Acid Green 16 respectively. In addition, in order to establish process parameters, a different models of sorption isotherm was examined. The studies showed that the sorption capacity (calculated based on Langmuir model) was much higher in the case of Acid Green 16 (qm = 434.8 mg/g) than for Acid Red 18 (qm = 109.9 mg/g). The experiments to evaluate the effect of pH, contact time on the process effectiveness and to determine the sorption isotherm were conducted at 293.15 K.

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