Zoogloeal viscous bulking in a Pinus radiata TMP/ONP: OMG recycled fibre newsprint activated sludge plant

Steven Nothrop, Desmond Richardson, John Van Leeuwen, Michael Machin, Kobus Theunissen, Troy Watkins, Ben van den Akker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this study, we showed that bulking in an activated sludge plant treating newsprint mill wastewater was due to Zoogloeal viscous bulking (or hydrous bulking). At Norske Skog’s Albury activated sludge plant (ASP) Zoogloeal viscous bulking appeared as microscopic amorphous clumps and formed a crust on wastewater during secondary clarification together with significant foaming in aeration tanks. Production of foaming polysaccharides/exopolymeric substance (EPS) was confirmed using Methylene Blue stain, whereby dispersed and light blue floe characteristics were observed. The condition resulted in the production of white billowy foam, which adversely impacted on the settleability and dewaterabitity of ASP sludge. Zoogloeal viscous bulking can be controlled by reducing the Food/Micro-organism (F/M) ratio, maintaining suitable macro-nutrient (orthophosphate and ammonium; P&N) residuals, limiting growth rates with an anoxic selector after an aerobic selector and/or reducing anoxic conditions preceding an aerobic selector. At the ASP a COD F/M ratio of 20:1 into Selector 1 resulted in significant Zoogloeal bulking. Controlling Zoogloeal growth rates with an anoxic Selector 2 and maintaining suitable ammonium and orthophosphate levels in both aeration tanks was successful in controlling EPS production. Firm floe characteristics (dark blue and low in polysaccharide) were observed using Methylene Blue staining. Defoamer requirements were reduced by a factor of ten.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
JournalAppita Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Anoxic selector
  • Bio-available nutrients
  • Exocellular polymeric substance
  • Growth rates
  • Zoogloeal viscous bulking


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