3 research outputs found

    Treatment of petroleum refinery wastewater containing heavily polluting substances in an aerobic submerged fixed-bed reactor

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    <div><p>Petroleum refineries produce large amount of wastewaters, which often contain a wide range of different compounds. Some of these constituents may be recalcitrant and therefore difficult to be treated biologically. This study evaluated the capability of an aerobic submerged fixed-bed reactor (ASFBR) containing a corrugated PVC support material for biofilm attachment to treat a complex and high-strength organic wastewater coming from a petroleum refinery. The reactor operation was divided into five experimental runs which lasted more than 250 days. During the reactor operation, the applied volumetric organic load was varied within the range of 0.5–2.4 kgCOD.m<sup>−3</sup>.d<sup>−1</sup>. Despite the inherent fluctuations on the characteristics of the complex wastewater and the slight decrease in the reactor performance when the influent organic load was increased, the ASFBR showed good stability and allowed to reach chemical oxygen demand, dissolved organic carbon and total suspended solids removals up to 91%, 90% and 92%, respectively. Appreciable ammonium removal was obtained (around 90%). Some challenging aspects of reactor operation such as biofilm quantification and important biofilm constituents (e.g. polysaccharides (PS) and proteins (PT)) were also addressed in this work. Average PS/volatile attached solids (VAS) and PT/VAS ratios were around 6% and 50%, respectively. The support material promoted biofilm attachment without appreciable loss of solids and allowed long-term operation without clogging. Microscopic observations of the microbial community revealed great diversity of higher organisms, such as protozoa and rotifers, suggesting that toxic compounds found in the wastewater were possibly removed in the biofilm.</p></div

    Combined organic matter and nitrogen removal from a chemical industry wastewater in a two-stage MBBR system

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    <div><p>Pesticide-producing factories generate highly polluting wastewaters containing toxic and hazardous compounds which should be reduced to acceptable levels before discharge. In this study, a chemical industry wastewater was treated in a pre-denitrification moving-bed biofilm reactor system subjected to an increasing internal mixed liquor recycle ratio from 2 to 4. Although the influent wastewater characteristics substantially varied over time, the removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and dissolved organic carbon was quite stable and mostly higher than 90%. The highest fraction of the incoming organic matter was removed anoxically, favouring a low COD/N environment in the subsequent aerobic nitrifying tank and thus ensuring stable ammonium removal (90–95%). However, during pH and salt shock periods, nitrifiers were severely inhibited but gradually restored their full nitrifying capability as non-stressing conditions were reestablished. Besides promoting an increase in the maximum nitrification potential of the aerobic attached biomass from 0.34 to 0.63 mg , the increase in the internal recycle ratio was accompanied by an increase in nitrogen removal (60–78%) and maximum specific denitrification rate (2.7–3.3 mg ). Total polysaccharides (PS) and protein (PT) concentrations of attached biomass were observed to be directly influenced by the influent organic loading rate, while the PS/PT ratio mainly ranged from 0.3 to 0.5. Results of Microtox tests showed that no toxicity was found in the effluent of both the anoxic and aerobic reactors, indicating that the biological process was effective in removing residual substances which might adversely affect the receiving waters' ecosystem.</p></div

    Effect of Different Operational Conditions on Biofilm Development, Nitrification, and Nitrifying Microbial Population in Moving-Bed Biofilm Reactors

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    In this study, the effect of different operational conditions on biofilm development and nitrification in three moving-bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) was investigated: two reactors were operated in a continuously fed regime and one in sequencing-batch mode. The presence of organic carbon reduced the time required to form stable nitrifying biofilms. Subsequent stepwise reduction of influent COD caused a decrease in total polysaccharide and protein content, which was accompanied by a fragmentation of the biofilm, as shown by scanning electron microscopy, and by an enrichment of the biofilm for nitrifiers, as observed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Polysaccharide and protein concentrations proved to be good indicators of biomass development and detachment in MBBR systems. Ammonium- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria activities were affected when a pulse feeding of 4 g of NH<sub>4</sub>-N/(m<sup>2</sup>·day) was applied. Free nitrous acid and free ammonia were likely the inhibitors for ammonium- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria