Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Paper Science and Engineering


This experiment was performed to determine if sludge produced by the paper industry could be composted faster by promoting the aerobic degradation process. To perform this experiment, I chose a sludge produced by a virgin pulp mill. Once I collected sludge, it was dewatered to a moisture content of sixty-five percent or less. As soon as the sludge was dewatered, I set up four separate composting systems, three of which were run under aerobic conditions and one that was run under anaerobic conditions. The anaerobic conditions only had sludge and plastic for its bulking agent. In the aerobic systems there were three different types of bulking agents used; pine bark, plastic and compost. In the aerobic systems air was introduced into the system. To determine how fast each of the processes was composting, I collected the gases that were produced by each of the systems. The gases that are produced by an anaerobic process was carbon dioxide and methane, whereas an aerobic process produces carbon dioxide and water. Therefore, by analyzing the gases produced by each of the systems periodically and determining the amount of carbon dioxide produced by each of the systems, one can determine the rate of decomposition of the sludge for each of the separate systems. Also the chemical oxygen demand (COD) was determined for each of the system, before and after the degradation occurred. COD was used to measure that content of organic matter in the sludge. This also helped in determining the degradation that has occurred in each of the systems.