Is there a “right choice” for dewatering of sludge?
Many manufacturers will be quick to highlight the features and benefits of their technology over a competitor’s. Whether it is % solids achievable, polymer dosage required, throughput available, automation, ease of maintenance, energy costs, odor capture or a plethora of other options. It is easy to focus in on one benefit or feature and lose the sight of the big picture.
The truth is there is no right choice for the dewatering of sludge. Instead there is a right process for determining what dewatering technology or technologies will work best for your needs and it starts not with the technology, but with the sludge itself.
Dewatering of Sludge Trends vs. Individual Sludge Assessment and Solutions
It is true that trends exist in the industry like those highlighted in the article How Do I Choose the Best Option for Sludge Dewatering? Those trends exist for a reason. Facilities with similar types of sludge and related needs will tend to required similar solutions.
The overview provided in the article isn’t wrong but starting with a trend to determine the sludge dewatering process required can yield poor results. Your dewatering solution may require more than just the selection of a dewatering technology but may also involve sludge pre-treatment or other changes to your sludge collection and management process.
The Ideal Process for Dewatering of Sludge
The best process for dewatering sludge involves a few steps:
- Assess sludge characteristics
- Establish dewatering goals and factors affecting the desired outcome
- Identify and select the best techniques and technologies available to achieve goals
- Implement dewatering of sludge technologies and techniques
- Evaluate success of the dewatering implementation against goals
Each individual sludge situation will have different characteristics and understanding these characteristics is the first step to determine which technology you should choose. Once the sludge characteristics are known and understood, the next step is to clearly define the desired goals and factors affecting the goals. Some may suggest the goals should be defined first, but it is impossible to define realistic goals without knowing what you have in the first place. Often the goals may be the same from one facility to another but the factors affecting them such as volumes, disposal cost, energy cost, or maintenance capabilities will vary significantly. Knowing the sludge characteristics and the desired outcome(s) will ensure the big picture remains in sight while different technology features and benefits are being evaluated. The final steps in the process are to implement and gauge the success. Rolling these learnings into the future dewatering of sludge process will be key to improved success down the road.
The Right Choice for Dewatering of Sludge is All About the Process
So, in order to make the best choice for dewatering of sludge, it is important to focus on the process first and allow the technology and equipment choices to be informed by the sludge assessment and defined goals.