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A Simpler Approach to Determining Biodegradation of SOCs in Wastewater Treatment Timothy G. Ellis and Boris Eliosov Dept.

of Civil and Construction Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

This project, sponsored by the Water Environment Research Foundation, sought to develop a simple r approa ch for de terminin g the biod egrada tion cha racteristic s of individ ual syn thetic org anic compounds in full-scale activated sludge wastewater treatment systems. The approach was based on a respirom etric me thod to m easure the biode gradatio n kinetic s of mix ed liquo r in a 30-m inute test. T his technique, termed the extant respirometric method, has the advantage of not only being quick, but also avoids the com plication s of analy tical me asurem ents of S OCs at the low conce ntrations and rap id biodeg radation rates ex perienc ed in the b atch tes t. Five full-scale wastewater treatment plants with different operating characteristics were studied during this project. All of the plants employed some variation of the activated sludge process for secondary treatment. Two of the plants were extended aeration plants with long solids retention times (SRTs) of 30 - 150 d. One was a pure oxygen plant with a relatively short SRT of 1.5 - 3 d. One plant was a conve ntional A S facility, a nd one plant use d pow dered a ctivated carbon in the mix ed liquo r to aid in treatment. Each of the facilities had different influent characteristics, including “typical” municipal wastewater, pesticide manufacture wastewater, and industrial wastewater. The biodegradation characteristics of a wide range of compounds were studied, and a procedure to use the measured biodegradation kinetic parameters was evaluated for its ability to predict the effluent concentrations of the studied compounds. This paper will focus on the results from two plants where the biodegradation kinetics of five compounds were studied: acetone, alkyl sulfate (AS), linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), ethylene glycol, furfural, and furoic acid. The first plant, the Boone Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), is an extended aeration plant with SR Ts ranging from 15 - 30 d . The Boone W PCP do es not have primary clarification and receives mostly municipal wastewater, with the exception of a leather tanning facility and a bakery. The influent BOD 5 averages 190 mg/L, and the flow is approximately 1.6 mgd. The biodegradation kinetics of alkyl sulfate (AS), linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), and ethylene glycol were studied over an eighteen month period. 1

Consequently. Once the competent biomass concentration was found. 2 . Consequently. however. a commodity chemical. Our observations during the present study at full-scale facilities. LAS. At the conditions in the batch respirometric procedure. the accuracy of the measured biodegradation parameters was evaluated by comparing predicted effluent concentrations with measured effluent concentrations during the validation period. Previous laboratory research suggests that this concentration can be approximated as the fraction of chemical oxygen demand that the target compound contributes to the feed to the activated sludge system (Magb anua. A steady-sate mass balance equation was used to estimate the maximum specific growth rate required to produce the measured effluent concentration. This findin g require d the dev elopm ent and e valuatio n of an alte rnative p rocedu re to estim ate the degr ading fra ction for the se com pound s. The biodegradation kinetics of the compound was measured at the same time. is a pure oxygen activate d sludg e plant w ith an SR T in the ra nge of 1..5 .3 d. the biodegradation kinetics for all of the studied compound s followed Monod kinetics. ethylene glycol. These results are shown in Table 1. The technique that was developed required the influent and effluent concentrations of the target compound to be measured during a specified time period.e. however. . an average of the competent bioma ss con centratio n was determ ined du ring the c alibration period. Grady and Magbanua. i. In order to evaluate the maximum specific growth rate. suggested that at low the influent concentrations seen in the field. the Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF). furfural and furoic acid biodegradation kinetics were studied at this plant. one of which manufactures furfural. The fa cility rece ives ap proxim ately 50 % of its flow (average flow: 32 mgd and average BOD5: 260 mg/L ) from industrial sources. 1998.4 mg COD/L and biomass concentrations equal to the mixed liquor concentrations of the full-scale facility from which the biomass was taken. In addition. This result was used to determine the competent biomass concentration that would have produced the observed respirometric response in the batch respirometric test. the concentration of biomass performing the biodegradation (termed competent biomass) had to be determined. et al. acetone. low substrate concentration of approximately 1 . and AS biodegradation kinetics were e valuate d at Ced ar Rap ids. the COD fraction grossly under-estimated the competent biomass fraction for several of the comp ounds . 1996).The second plant.

4 4.6 5.79±0.4 7/18/00 2. 4 mg/L) on average. :g/L Date Date Measured Predicted Measured Predicted Cedar Rapids WPCF Furfural1 Acetone 04/27/00 58 51 02/01/00 80 63 04/18/00 92 77 02/15/00 198 73 05/03/00 61 66 03/07/00 34 56 06/01/00 134 86 03/14/00 62 108 07/25/00 120 95 04/18/00 36 59 07/27/00 74 64 05/03/00 30 90 10/10/00 86 87 06/01/00 142 131 average 89±29 75±16 average 85±59 83±26 AS 2 6/29/00 7/06/00 7/10/00 7/18/00 7/25/00 7/27/00 7/28/00 7/29/00 average 0.55 3. LAS predictions at the Boone plant were within 55% (i. but AS predictions were not close at either plant.9 0.8 3.3 6/29/00 7/06/00 7/10/00 7/18/00 7/25/00 7/27/00 7/28/00 16 46 7 84 57 24 19 43±16 Boone WPCP AS 2 0. Predicted concentrations for these compounds were between 2 and 16% of the measured concentrations on average.5 7.9±0..8 6.4 5.4 6/29/00 3. Measured and predicted effluent concentrations of target compounds at the Cedar Rapids and Boone p lants during the validation period.1 3.8 6.82±0.33 0.9 2.9 0. Effluent c oncen tration.17 0. acetone .66 0. The following conclusions can be drawn from this research: 3 .1 LAS 2 98 143 17 15 32 9 15 41±47 1 2 From these results it is apparent that the measured kinetic parameters do a remarkable job of predictin g the ave rage efflue nt conc entration s of furfura l.41 0. The day to day predictions at Cedar Rapids varied in a much wider range.0 7/20/00 3.1 7/06/00 2.4 4.e.5±3.4 4.13 2.2±1. and LA S at the C edar R apids W PCF . The difficulty in g etting acc urate pre dictions for AS m ay hav e been due to diffic ulties in sa mple preparation and analytical detection.7 Using extant kin etic para meters from res pirome tric tests inje cted with furfural Influent COD fraction was used as an estimate of the competent biomass 6/29/00 7/06/00 7/10/00 7/18/00 LAS 2 9.1 2.49 1. :g/L Effluent c oncen tration.64 2.3 0.36 0.Table 5-16.7 2.6 1.54 1.66 3.63 3.51 0.3±0.55 0.

This method was used for furfural and acetone where the competent fractions were found to be 1. 4 .! For some SOCs.8 and 2.3%. competent fractions for LAS and AS could be obtained from the COD fraction. In our research. the competent fraction of degrading organisms in full-scale activated sludge systems can be approximated by the COD fraction contributed to the feed. ! For othe r comp ounds the CO D fraction consid erably u nderes timates the com petent frac tion. In these cases an alternative procedure is recommended to estimate the competent fraction using a calibration period. respectively.