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Biodegradation of tannery wastewater using sequencing batch reactor—respirometric assessment

R Ganesh, G Balaji, R A Ramanujam
Bioresource Technology 2006, 97 (15): 1815-21
16230010
This investigation proved that respirometry combined with sequencing batch reactor (SBR) could be an effective way for the removal of COD in tannery wastewater. Measurement of oxygen uptake rates (OUR) and corresponding COD uptake rates showed that a 12-h operating cycle was optimum for tannery wastewater. The removal of COD by degradation was stoichiometric with oxygen usage. A plot of OUR values provided a good indication of the biological activity in the reactor. A high OUR value corresponded to the feed period; at the end of the cycle, when the substrate was depleted, the OUR value was low. At a 12-h SBR cycle with a loading rate of 1.9-2.1 kgm(-3) d(-1), removal of 80-82% COD, 78-80% TKN and 83-99% NH(3)-N were achieved. These removal efficiencies were much higher than the conventional aerobic systems. A simple method of COD fractionation was performed from the OUR and COD uptake rate data of the SBR cycle. About 66-70% of the influent COD was found to be readily biodegradable, 10-14% was slowly degradable and 17-21% was non-biodegradable. The oxygen mass transfer coefficient, K(L)a (19 +/- 1.7 h(-1)) was derived from respirometry. It was observed that with the exception of high organic load at the initial feed the oxygen transfer capacity was in excess of the OUR, and aerobic condition was generally maintained. Simultaneous nitrification-denitrification was observed in the SBR during the feed period as proved by mass balance.

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