Biofilm growth and characteristics in an alternating pumped sequencing batch biofilm reactor (APSBBR)

Xin-Min Zhan, Michael Rodgers, Edmond O'Reilly
Water Research 2006, 40 (4): 817-25
A novel biofilm reactor-alternating pumped sequencing batch biofilm reactor (APSBBR)-was developed to treat synthetic dairy wastewater at a volumetric chemical oxygen demand (COD) loading rate of 487 g COD m(-3) d(-1) and an areal loading rate of 5.4 g COD m(-2) d(-1). This biofilm reactor comprised two tanks, Tanks 1 and 2, with two identical plastic biofilm modules in each tank. The maximum volume of bulk fluid in the two-tank reactor was the volume of one tank. The APSBBR was operated as a sequencing batch biofilm reactor with five operational phases-fill (25 min), anoxic (9 h), aerobic (9 h), settle (6 h) and draw (5 min). The fill, anoxic, settle and draw phases occurred in Tank 1. In the aerobic phase, the wastewater was circulated between the two tanks with centrifugal pumps and aeration was mainly achieved through oxygen absorption by micro-organisms in the biofilms when they were exposed to the air. In this paper, the biofilm growth and characteristics in the APSBBR were studied in a 98-day laboratory-scale experiment. During the course of the study, it was found that the biofilm thickness (delta) in Tank 1 ranged from 1.2 to 7.2 mm and that in Tank 2 from 0.5 to 2.2 mm; the biofilm growth against time (t) can be simulated as delta=0.07t0.99 (R2 = 0.97, P = 0.002) in Tank 1 and delta = 0.08t0.66 (R2 = 0.81, P = 0.04) in Tank 2. The biomass yield coefficient, Y, was 0.18 g volatile solids (VS) g(-1) COD removal. The biofilm density in both tanks, X, decreased as the biofilm thickness increased and can be correlated to the biofilm thickness, delta .

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