Low-biodegradable composite chemical wastewater treatment by biofilm configured sequencing batch reactor (SBBR)

S Venkata Mohan, N Chandrasekhara Rao, P N Sarma
Journal of Hazardous Materials 2007 June 1, 144 (1): 108-17
Biofilm configured system with sequencing/periodic discontinuous batch mode operation was evaluated for the treatment of low-biodegradable composite chemical wastewater (low BOD/COD ratio approximately 0.3, high sulfate content: 1.75 g/l) in aerobic metabolic function. Reactor was operated under anoxic-aerobic-anoxic microenvironment conditions with a total cycle period of 24 h [fill: 15 min; reaction: 23 h (aeration along with recirculation); settle: 30 min; decant: 15 min] and the performance of the system was studied at organic loading rates (OLR) of 0.92, 1.50, 3.07 and 4.76 kg COD/cum-day. Substrate utilization showed a steady increase with increase in OLR and system performance sustained at higher loading rates. Maximum non-cumulative substrate utilization was observed after 4h of the cycle operation. Sulfate removal efficiency of 20% was observed due to the induced anoxic conditions prevailing during the sequence phase operation of the reactor and the existing internal anoxic zones in the biofilm matrix. Biofilm configured sequencing batch reactor (SBR) showed comparatively higher efficiency to the corresponding suspended growth and granular activated carbon (GAC) configured systems studied with same wastewater. Periodic discontinuous batch mode operation of the biofilm reactors results in a more even distribution of the biomass throughout the reactor and was able to treat large shock loads than the continuous flow process. Biofilm configured system coupled with periodic discontinuous batch mode operation imposes regular variations in the substrate concentration on biofilm organisms. As a result, organisms throughout the film achieve maximum growth rates resulting in improved reaction potential leading to stable and robust system which is well suited for treating highly variable wastes.


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