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Foams in Wastewater Treatment Plants: From Causes to Control Methods

Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Pavia, via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Interdepartmental Centre for Water Research, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 3, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Department of Chemistry, University of Pavia, v-le Taramelli 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics, University of Brescia, Via Branze 43, 25123 Brescia, Italy
Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences, University of Insubria, Via G.B. Vico 46, 21100 Varese, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2716;
Received: 21 March 2020 / Revised: 8 April 2020 / Accepted: 11 April 2020 / Published: 15 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Sustainable Science and Technology)
The formation of persistent foams can be a critical problem in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as it could lead to a series of operational problems, especially the reduction of the overall system performance. To date, the effects of foaming in the WWTPs are a problem that is currently very common and shared, but which to date is treated mainly only at the management level and still too little studied through a globally shared scientific method: the complexity of the phenomenon and the systems have led to numerous partially contradictory descriptions and hypotheses over the years. The goal must be to suggest future research directions and indicate promising strategies to prevent or control the formation of foams in WWTPs. This study examines and investigates the problem of foams by a methodological approach of research through a review on the state of the art: the factors influencing the formation of foams are described first (such as surfactants and/or extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs)), then the known methods for the evaluation of foaming, both direct and indirect, are presented, with the aim of identifying the correct and best (from the management point of view) control and/or prevention strategies to be applied in the future in WWTPs. View Full-Text
Keywords: foaming; chemical and biological foams; evaluation method; foam test; control method; WWTP foaming; chemical and biological foams; evaluation method; foam test; control method; WWTP
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Collivignarelli, M.C.; Baldi, M.; Abbà, A.; Caccamo, F.M.; Carnevale Miino, M.; Rada, E.C.; Torretta, V. Foams in Wastewater Treatment Plants: From Causes to Control Methods. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 2716.

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