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Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is widely used in the UK for the treatment of sewage sludge. Currently, approximately 66% of the UK’s sewage sludge is treated in AD plants.
AD is a natural process during which micro-organisms break down organic matter into biogas and bio fertiliser. AD can be used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste and/or to release energy.
Efficient anaerobic digestion reduces the quantities of sludge disposed of and produces "clean energy", such as biogas, which can be used to produce heat and/or electric energy.
Similar to sewage sludge digesters, anaerobic digesters also require regular cleaning to increase the retention time of bio-solids in the vessel, reduce the costs of heating the vessel and increase digestion and life of the sludge pumps. It is necessary to carry out preventive maintenance on the anaerobic digester and the relevant systems in order to keep the digestion process efficient over time.
Poor digester performance also causes low Solids Retention Time making it difficult to meet stabilisation requirements as well as producing high odour biosolids. If a digester is not cleaned regularly up to 50% of capacity can be lost to debris, plastics, grit and thick inert sludge solids - with the yearly losses in capacity accelerating rapidly over time.