Quantification and comparison of the dewatering characteristics of fifteen sewage sludges from a range of digestion scenarios are described. The method proposed uses laboratory dewatering measurements and integrity analysis of the extracted material properties. These properties were used as inputs into a model of filtration, the output of which provides the dewatering comparison. This method is shown to be necessary for quantification and comparison of dewaterability as the permeability and compressibility of the sludges varies by up to ten orders of magnitude in the range of solids concentration of interest to industry. This causes a high sensitivity of the dewaterability comparison to the starting concentration of laboratory tests, thus simple dewaterability comparison based on parameters such as the specific resistance to filtration is difficult. The new approach is demonstrated to be robust relative to traditional methods such as specific resistance to filtration analysis and has an in-built integrity check. Comparison of the quantified dewaterability of the fifteen sludges to the relative volatile solids content showed a very strong correlation in the volatile solids range from 40 to 80%. The data indicate that the volatile solids parameter is a strong indicator of the dewatering behaviour of sewage sludges.
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