Decolorization and biodegradation of dye wastewaters by a facultative-aerobic process

Yin Li, Dan-Li Xi
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2004, 11 (6): 372-7

BACKGROUND: Dye wastewater is one of the main pollution sources of water bodies in China. Conventional biological processes are relatively ineffective for color removal, the development of alternative treatment methods will become important. Our subjective was that of introducing a new biotreatment technology which combined a facultative biofilm reactor (FBR) with an aerobic reactor (AR) to treat a dye wastewater. The efficiencies of color and chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal and the mechanism of dye degradation were investigated.

METHODS: The anthraquinone acid dye (acid blue BRLL) concentration, organic loading rate (OLR) and hydraulic retention time (HRT) were varied in the experiments to evaluate the treatment efficiency and process stability. The biodegradation products were detected by infrared (IR) and high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The results demonstrated that the facultative biofilm process was more effective for decolorization than the anaerobic stage of an anaerobic-aerobic process. Most color removal occurred in the facultative reaction (maximum to 88.5%) and the BOD (biochemical oxygen demand): COD of the FBR effluent increased by 82.2%, thus improving the biodegradability of dyes for further aerobic treatment. The dye concentration, OLR and HRT will be the factors affecting decolorization. Color removal efficiency falls as the influent dye concentration increases, but rises with increased HRT. The infrared and HPLC-MS analyses of the effluents of FBR and AR reveal that the dye parent compound was degraded in each reactor during the process.

CONCLUSION: The Facultative-aerobic (F-A) system can effectively remove both color and COD from the dye wastewater. The FBR played an essential role in the process. The average overall color and COD in the system were removed by more than 93.9% and 97.1%, respectively, at an OLR of 1.1 kg COD m(-3) d(-1) and at the HRT of 18-20 hours in the FBR and 4-5 hours in the AR. The color removal mechanism in each reactor was not only a sort of biosorption on the floc materials, but even more an effect of biodegradation, especially in the facultative process. Recommendation and Outlook. In applying the F-A system to treat a dye wastewater, the control of facultative processes and the set up of appropriate operation conditions appear to be critical factors. Also, it is suggested a moderate COD loading rate and about a 24-hour HRT will favor the F-A system.

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