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Combined organic matter and nitrogen removal from a chemical industry wastewater in a two-stage MBBR system

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Version 3 2015-11-24, 17:42
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journal contribution
posted on 2015-11-24, 17:42 authored by S.M.S. Cao, G.A.T. Fontoura, M. Dezotti, J.P. Bassin

Pesticide-producing factories generate highly polluting wastewaters containing toxic and hazardous compounds which should be reduced to acceptable levels before discharge. In this study, a chemical industry wastewater was treated in a pre-denitrification moving-bed biofilm reactor system subjected to an increasing internal mixed liquor recycle ratio from 2 to 4. Although the influent wastewater characteristics substantially varied over time, the removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and dissolved organic carbon was quite stable and mostly higher than 90%. The highest fraction of the incoming organic matter was removed anoxically, favouring a low COD/N environment in the subsequent aerobic nitrifying tank and thus ensuring stable ammonium removal (90–95%). However, during pH and salt shock periods, nitrifiers were severely inhibited but gradually restored their full nitrifying capability as non-stressing conditions were reestablished. Besides promoting an increase in the maximum nitrification potential of the aerobic attached biomass from 0.34 to 0.63 mg , the increase in the internal recycle ratio was accompanied by an increase in nitrogen removal (60–78%) and maximum specific denitrification rate (2.7–3.3 mg ). Total polysaccharides (PS) and protein (PT) concentrations of attached biomass were observed to be directly influenced by the influent organic loading rate, while the PS/PT ratio mainly ranged from 0.3 to 0.5. Results of Microtox tests showed that no toxicity was found in the effluent of both the anoxic and aerobic reactors, indicating that the biological process was effective in removing residual substances which might adversely affect the receiving waters' ecosystem.