Evaluation of rapid methods for in-situ characterization of organic contaminant load and biodegradation rates in winery wastewater

M J Carvallo, I Vargas, A Vega, G Pizarro, G Pizarr, P Pastén
Water Science and Technology: a Journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research 2007, 56 (2): 129-37
Rapid methods for the in-situ evaluation of the organic load have recently been developed and successfully implemented in municipal wastewater treatment systems. Their direct application to winery wastewater treatment is questionable due to substantial differences between municipal and winery wastewater. We critically evaluate the use of UV-VIS spectrometry, buffer capacity testing (BCT), and respirometry as rapid methods to determine organic load and biodegradation rates of winery wastewater. We tested three types of samples: actual and treated winery wastewater, synthetic winery wastewater, and samples from a biological batch reactor. Not surprisingly, respirometry gave a good estimation of biodegradation rates for substrate of different complexities, whereas UV-VIS and BCT did not provide a quantitative measure of the easily degradable sugars and ethanol, typically the main components of the COD in the influent. However, our results strongly suggest that UV-VIS and BCT can be used to identify and estimate the concentration of complex substrates in the influent and soluble microbial products (SMP) in biological reactors and their effluent. Furthermore, the integration of UV-VIS spectrometry, BCT, and mathematical modeling was able to differentiate between the two components of SMPs: substrate utilization associated products (UAP) and biomass associated products (BAP). Since the effluent COD in biologically treated wastewaters is composed primarily by SMPs, the quantitative information given by these techniques may be used for plant control and optimization.

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