A new low-cost biofilm carrier for the treatment of municipal wastewater in a moving bed reactor

J C Orantes, S González-Martínez
Water Science and Technology: a Journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research 2003, 48 (11): 243-50
The Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor has proven to be an efficient system in wastewater treatment and has become a viable solution for small treatment plants. The main objective of this research was to analyse the performance of a moving bed reactor using low-cost local material when fed with municipal wastewater. A pilot reactor with a total volume of 900 litres was built and it was fed continuously with municipal wastewater. The operation of the system was adjusted to six different organic loading rates. The biofilm carrier was polyethylene tubing with internal diameter of 1.1 cm, cut into pieces of 1.2 cm. The tested material offered a specific surface area of 590 m2/m3. Air was provided with a fine-bubble diffuser. The main results show that the reactor performance was stable and predictable. The COD removal confidently behaves according to a general hyperbolic kinetic equation. The maximal total COD removal attained was 81%. Nitrification was observed only for organic loads with values under 5.7 gCOD/m2 x d. Good adherence of the microorganisms was observed for the applied organic loading rates. After several months of operation, the material showed no signs of abrasion or deformation. The sludge production behaved linearly with the organic load reaching 979 gTSS/d with the highest organic load of 35.7 gCOD/m2 x d. The amount of microorganisms attached to the carrier increased with the organic load tending to an asymptotical maximal value of 17.3 g/m2 (as dry solids). Mean cellular retention times from 2.0 to 23.1 days were determined.

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