Iron is widely used in sewage treatment systems and enriched into waste activated sludge (WAS), which is difficult and challenging to phosphorus (P) release and recovery. This study investigated simultaneous release performance of polyphosphate and iron-phosphate from iron-rich sludge via anaerobic fermentation combined with sulfate reduction (AF-SR) system. Batch tests were performed, with results showing that AF-SR system conducted a positive effect due to the relatively low solubility of ferrous sulfide in comparison with ferric phosphate precipitates. Simulation study was performed to investigate the total P release potential from actual waste activated sludge, finding that about 70% of the total P could release with the optimized pH of 7.0–8.0 and the theoretical S 2− /Fe 2+ molar ratio of 1.0. A potential new blueprint of a wastewater treatment plant based on AF-SR system, towards P, N recovery and Fe, S, C recycle, was finally proposed.
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