Research article Special Issues

Use of an integrated biophysical process for the treatment of halo- and nitro- organic wastes

  • Received: 24 February 2017 Accepted: 26 June 2017 Published: 07 July 2017
  • This study assessed the use of an integrated biophysical process incorporating the addition of powdered activated carbon (PAC) to a dual-sludge biological process, in order to improve the removal of problematic contaminants from complex herbicides production wastewater. The main focus was on the removal of nitrogen compounds, total organic carbon (TOC), and halogenated organics (AOX). The dual-sludge pilot setup comprised a conventional activated sludge (CAS) system followed by a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system. The dilution ratio of raw wastewater was gradually decreased (with groundwater) from 0.8 to 0 (no dilution), and PAC was added in the last phase of the study to maintain an equilibrium concentration of 2000 mg/L. PAC addition stimulated a high and steady removal (98%) of the ammoniacal nitrogen, conforming to the sea discharge limit of 5 mg/L. However, the effluent concentrations of total nitrogen, TOC, and AOX were still above the stringent discharge limits of 20, 100 and 0.5 mg/L respectively. Furthermore, it was shown that synergistic effect of various toxic organic compounds, rather than mineral salinity, was the major cause for the acute inhibitions of nitrification and AOX removal. The study showed that the proposed process can function as an efficient treatment system for the complex wastewater typically produced in the herbicide industry, however, it is recommended that complementary physico-chemical treatment steps be added to the treatment process.

    Citation: Liron Shoshani, Asher Brenner, Chaim Sheindorf. Use of an integrated biophysical process for the treatment of halo- and nitro- organic wastes[J]. AIMS Environmental Science, 2017, 4(4): 523-539. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2017.4.523

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  • This study assessed the use of an integrated biophysical process incorporating the addition of powdered activated carbon (PAC) to a dual-sludge biological process, in order to improve the removal of problematic contaminants from complex herbicides production wastewater. The main focus was on the removal of nitrogen compounds, total organic carbon (TOC), and halogenated organics (AOX). The dual-sludge pilot setup comprised a conventional activated sludge (CAS) system followed by a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system. The dilution ratio of raw wastewater was gradually decreased (with groundwater) from 0.8 to 0 (no dilution), and PAC was added in the last phase of the study to maintain an equilibrium concentration of 2000 mg/L. PAC addition stimulated a high and steady removal (98%) of the ammoniacal nitrogen, conforming to the sea discharge limit of 5 mg/L. However, the effluent concentrations of total nitrogen, TOC, and AOX were still above the stringent discharge limits of 20, 100 and 0.5 mg/L respectively. Furthermore, it was shown that synergistic effect of various toxic organic compounds, rather than mineral salinity, was the major cause for the acute inhibitions of nitrification and AOX removal. The study showed that the proposed process can function as an efficient treatment system for the complex wastewater typically produced in the herbicide industry, however, it is recommended that complementary physico-chemical treatment steps be added to the treatment process.


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    [1] Celis E, Elefsiniotis P, Singhal N (2008) Biodegradation of Agricultural Herbicides in Sequencing Batch Reactors under Aerobic or Anaerobic Conditions. Water Res 42: 3218-3224. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2008.04.008
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    [7] Pala A, Tokat E (2003) Activated Carbon Addition to an Activated Sludge Model Reactor for Color Removal from a Cotton Textile Processing Wastewater. J Environ Eng 129: 1064-1068. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9372(2003)129:11(1064)
    [8] Cecen F, Aktas O (2001) Powdered Activated Carbon-Assisted Biotreatment of a Chemical Synthesis Wastewater. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 76: 1249-1259.
    [9] Ghattas AK, Fischer F, Wick A, et al. (2017) Anaerobic biodegradation of (emerging) organic contaminants in the aquatic environment. Water Res 116: 268-295. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.02.001
    [10] Volker J, Vogt T, Castronovo S, et al. (2017) Extended anaerobic conditions in the biological wastewater treatment: Higher reduction of toxicity compared to target organic micropollutants. Water Res 116: 220-230. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.03.030
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  • © 2017 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
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