Removal of Organic Micropollutants by Aerobic Activated Sludge

  • Nan Wang

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

The study examined the removal mechanism of non-acclimated and acclimated aerobic activated sludge for 29 target organic micropollutants (OMPs) at low concentration. The selection of the target OMPs represents a wide range of physical-chemical properties such as hydrophobicity, charge state as well as a diverse range of classes, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products and household chemicals. The removal mechanisms of OMPs include adsorption, biodegradation, hydrolysis, and vaporization. Adsorption and biodegradation were found to be the main routes for OMPs removal for all target OMPs. Target OMPs responded to the two dominant removal routes in different ways: (1) complete adsorption, (2) strong biodegradation and weak adsorption, (3) medium biodegradation and adsorption, and (4) weak sorption and weak biodegradatio. Kinetic study showed that adsorption of atenolol, mathylparaben and propylparaben well followed first-order model (R2: 0.939 to 0.999) with the rate constants ranging from 0.519-7.092 h-1. For biodegradation kinetics, it was found that benzafibrate, bisphenol A, diclofenac, gemfibrozil, ibuprofen, caffeine and DEET followed zero-order model (K0:1.15E-4 to 0.0142 μg/Lh-1, R2: 0.991 to 0.999), while TCEP, naproxen, dipehydramine, oxybenzone and sulfamethoxazole followed first-order model (K1:1.96E-4 to 0.101 h-1, R2: 0.912 to 0.996). 4 Inhibition by sodium azide (NaN3)and high temperature sterilization was compared, and it was found that high temperature sterilization will damage cells and change the sludge charge state. For the OMPs adaptation removal study, it was found that some of OMPs effluent concentration decreased, which may be due to the slow adaptation of the sludge or the increase of certain bacteria culture; some increased due to chromic toxicity of the chemicals; most of the OMPs had stable effluent concentration trend, it was explained that some of the OMPs were too difficutl to remove while other showed strong quick adaptation. A new module combined of sequencing batch reactor (SBR) and nanofiltration membrane filtration (NF-MBR) was developed to further study the OMPs removal and to exam the concept of compounds (CRT). The NF-MBR was proved to be a promising bioreactor, as OMPs were rejected by NF membrane which leaded to a low OMPs concentration in permeate water, the apparent removal rate was over 80% for most of the OMPs.
Date of AwardJun 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Science and Engineering
SupervisorGary Amy (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • organic micropollutants
  • activated sludge
  • kinetics
  • biodegradation
  • compound retention time

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