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An in situ MBfR system to treat nitrate-contaminated surface water

Description

Nitrate, a widespread contaminant in surface water, can cause eutrophication and toxicity to aquatic organisms. To augment the nitrate-removal capacity of constructed wetlands, I applied the H2-based Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR) in a novel configuration called the in situ

Nitrate, a widespread contaminant in surface water, can cause eutrophication and toxicity to aquatic organisms. To augment the nitrate-removal capacity of constructed wetlands, I applied the H2-based Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR) in a novel configuration called the in situ MBfR (isMBfR). The goal of my thesis is to evaluate and model the nitrate removal performance for a bench-scale isMBfR system.

I operated the bench-scale isMBfR system in 7 different conditions to evaluate its nitrate-removal performance. When I supplied H2 with the isMBfR (stages 1 - 6), I observed at least 70% nitrate removal, and almost all of the denitrification occurred in the "MBfR zone." When I stopped the H2 supply in stage 7, the nitrate-removal percentage immediately dropped from 92% (stage 6) to 11% (stage 7). Denitrification raised the pH of the bulk liquid to ~ 9.0 for the first 6 stages, but the high pH did not impair the performance of the denitrifiers. Microbial community analyses indicated that DB were the dominant bacteria in the "MBfR zone," while photosynthetic Cyanobacteria were dominant in the "photo-zone".

I derived stoichiometric relationships among COD, alkalinity, H2, Dissolved Oxygen (DO), and nitrate to model the nitrate removal capacity of the "MBfR zone." The stoichiometric relationships corresponded well to the nitrate-removal capacity for all stages expect stage 3, which was limited by the abundance of Denitrifying Bacteria (DB) so that the H2 supply capacity could not be completely used.

Finally, I analyzed two case studies for the real-world application of the isMBfR to constructed wetlands. Based on the characteristics for the wetlands and the stoichiometric relationships, I designed a feasible operation condition (membrane area and H2 pressure) for each wetland. In both cases, the amount of isMBfR surface area was modest, from 0.022 to 1.2 m2/m3 of wetland volume.

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Date Created
2014

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Fate and biological effects of engineered nanomaterials during simulated wastewater treatment processes

Description

As engineered nanomaterials (NMs) become used in industry and commerce their loading to sewage will increase. However, the fate of widely used NMs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remains poorly understood. In this research, sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) were operated

As engineered nanomaterials (NMs) become used in industry and commerce their loading to sewage will increase. However, the fate of widely used NMs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remains poorly understood. In this research, sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) were operated with hydraulic (HRT) and sludge (SRT) retention times representative of full-scale biological WWTPs for several weeks. NM loadings at the higher range of expected environmental concentrations were selected. To achieve the pseudo-equilibrium state concentration of NMs in biomass, SBR experiments needed to operate for more than three times the SRT value, approximately 18 days. Under the conditions tested, NMs had negligible effects on ability of the wastewater bacteria to biodegrade organic material, as measured by chemical oxygen demand (COD). NM mass balance closure was achieved by measuring NMs in liquid effluent and waste biosolids. All NMs were well removed at the typical biomass concentration (1~2 gSS/L). However, carboxy-terminated polymer coated silver nanoparticles (fn-Ag) were removed less effectively (88% removal) than hydroxylated fullerenes (fullerols; >90% removal), nano TiO2 (>95% removal) or aqueous fullerenes (nC60; >95% removal). Although most NMs did not settle out of the feed solution without bacteria present, approximately 65% of the titanium dioxide was removed even in the absence of biomass simply due to self-aggregation and settling. Experiments conducted over 4 months with daily loadings of nC60 showed that nC60 removal from solution depends on the biomass concentration. Under conditions representative of most suspended growth biological WWTPs (e.g., activated sludge), most of the NMs will accumulate in biosolids rather than in liquid effluent discharged to surface waters. Significant fractions of fn-Ag were associated with colloidal material which suggests that efficient particle separation processes (sedimentation or filtration) could further improve removal of NM from effluent. As most NMs appear to accumulate in biosolids, future research should examine the fate of NMs during disposal of WWTP biosolids, which may occur through composting or anaerobic digestion and/or land application, incineration, or landfill disposal.

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Date Created
2012

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Modeling engineered nanoparticles removal by conventional activated sludge treatment process in wastewater treatment plant

Description

The production and applications of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has increased rapidly in the last decade, with release of ENM to the environment through the sewer system and municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) being of concern. Currently, the literature on ENM

The production and applications of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has increased rapidly in the last decade, with release of ENM to the environment through the sewer system and municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) being of concern. Currently, the literature on ENM release from WWTPs and removal of ENM by WWTPs is insufficient and disorganized. There is little quantitative data on the removal of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), graphene oxide (GO), or few-layer graphene (FLG), from wastewater onto biomass. The removal of pristine and oxidized MWCNTs (O-MWCNTs), graphene oxide (GO), few-layer graphene (FLG) and Tween™ 20-coated Ag ENM by the interaction with biomass were determined by programmable thermal analysis (PTA) and UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The removal of pristine and O-MWCNTs was 96% from the water phase via aggregation and 30-min settling in presence or absence of biomass with an initial MWCNT concentration of 25 mg/L. The removal of 25 mg/L GO was 65% with biomass concentration at or above 1,000 mg TSS/L. The removal of 1 mg/L FLG was 16% with 50 mg TSS/L. The removal of Tween™ 20 Ag ENM with concentration from 0.97 mg/L to 2.6 mg/L was from 11% to 92% with biomass concentration of 500 mg TSS/L to 3,000 mg TSS/L, respectively.

A database of ENM removal by biomass was established by analyzing data from published papers, and non-linear solid-liquid distribution functions were built into the database. A conventional activated sludge (CAS) model was built based on a membrane bioreactor (MBR) model from a previous paper. An iterative numeric approach was adapted to the CAS model to calculate the result of non-linear adsorption of ENM by biomass in the CAS process. Kinetic studies of the CAS model showed the model performance changed mostly in the first 10 days after changing influent chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration, and reached a steady state after 11 days. Over 60% of ENMs which have distribution coefficients in the database reached higher than 50% removal by the CAS model under general operational conditions. This result suggests that traditional WWTP which include the CAS process can remove many known types of ENMs in certain degree.

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Date Created
2015

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Phosphorus recovery from microbial biofuel residual using microwave peroxide digestion and anion exchange

Description

Biofuel from microbial biomass is a viable alternative to current energy production practices that could mitigate greenhouse gas levels and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Sustainable production of microbial biomass requires efficient utilization of nutrients like phosphorus (P). P is

Biofuel from microbial biomass is a viable alternative to current energy production practices that could mitigate greenhouse gas levels and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Sustainable production of microbial biomass requires efficient utilization of nutrients like phosphorus (P). P is a limited resource which is vital for global food security. This paper seeks to understand the fate of P through biofuel production and proposes a proof-of-concept process to recover P from microbial biomass. The photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 is found to contain 1.4% P by dry weight. After the crude lipids are extracted for biofuel processing, 92% of the intercellular P is found within the residual biomass. Most intercellular P is associated with nucleic acids which remain within the cell after lipids are extracted. Phospholipids comprise a small percentage of cellular P. A wet chemical advanced oxidation process of adding 30% hydrogen peroxide followed by 10 min of microwave heating converts 92% of the total cellular P from organic-P and polyphosphate into orthophosphate. P was then isolated and concentrated from the complex digested matrix by use of resins. An anion exchange resin impregnated with iron nanoparticles demonstrates high affinity for P by sorbing 98% of the influent P through 20 bed volumes, but only was able to release 23% of it when regenerated. A strong base anion exchange resin sorbed 87% of the influent P through 20 bed volumes then released 50% of it upon regeneration. The overall P recovery process was able to recover 48% of the starting intercellular P into a pure and concentrated nutrient solution available for reuse. Further optimization of elution could improve P recovery, but this provides a proof-of-concept for converting residual biomass after lipid extraction to a beneficial P source.

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Date Created
2012

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Treating energetics-contaminated wastewater

Description

This study reports on the treatment of ammunition wastewater containing RDX (1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-triazinane), HMX (1,3,5,7-Tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazoctane), and the oxyanion co-contaminants nitrate (NO3-) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in a membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), a Palladium (Pd)-coated MBfR (Pd-MBfR), and an abiotic Pd-coated film reactor

This study reports on the treatment of ammunition wastewater containing RDX (1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-triazinane), HMX (1,3,5,7-Tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazoctane), and the oxyanion co-contaminants nitrate (NO3-) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in a membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), a Palladium (Pd)-coated MBfR (Pd-MBfR), and an abiotic Pd-coated film reactor (Pd-film reactor). A consortium of nitrate- and perchlorate-reducing bacteria, continuously fed with synesthetic ammunition wastewater featuring 4 mM nitrate and 0.1-2 mM perchlorate, formed robust biofilms on the membrane surfaces in the MBfR and Pd-MBfR. PdNPs with diameter 4-5-nm auto-assembled and stabilized on the surfaces of membrane and biofilm in MPfR and Pd-MBfR. Nitrate and perchlorate were rapidly reduced by the biofilms in the MBfR and Pd-MBfR, but they were not catalytically reduced through PdNPs alone in the MPfR. In contrast, RDX or HMX was recalcitrant to enzymatic degradation in MBfR, but was rapidly reduced through Pd-catalytic denitration in the MPfR and Pd-MBfR to form ‒N‒NHOH or ‒N‒H. Based on the experimental results, the synergistic coupling of Pd-based catalysis and microbial activity in the Pd-MBfR should be a viable new technology for treating ammunition wastewater.

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Date Created
2019

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Geochemical analysis of the leachate generated after zero valent metals addition to municipal solid waste

Description

Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals,

Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals, and odorous sulfides. Addition of ZVI has also been proved in enhancing the methane gas generation in anaerobic digestion of activated sludge. However, no studies have been conducted regarding the effect of ZVM stimulation to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) degradation. Therefore, a collaborative study was developed to manipulate microbial activity in the landfill bioreactors to favor methane production by adding ZVMs. This study focuses on evaluating the effects of added ZVM on the leachate generated from replicated lab scale landfill bioreactors. The specific objective was to investigate the effects of ZVMs addition on the organic and inorganic pollutants in leachate. The hypothesis here evaluated was that adding ZVM including ZVI and Zero Valent Manganese (ZVMn) will enhance the removal rates of the organic pollutants present in the leachate, likely by a putative higher rate of microbial metabolism. Test with six (4.23 gallons) bioreactors assembled with MSW collected from the Salt River Landfill and Southwest Regional Landfill showed that under 5 grams /liter of ZVI and 0.625 grams/liter of ZVMn additions, no significant difference was observed in the pH and temperature data of the leachate generated from these reactors. The conductivity data suggested the steady rise across all reactors over the period of time. The removal efficiency of sCOD was highest (27.112 mg/lit/day) for the reactors added with ZVMn at the end of 150 days for bottom layer, however the removal rate was highest (16.955 mg/lit/day) for ZVI after the end of 150 days of the middle layer. Similar trends in the results was observed in TC analysis. HPLC study indicated the dominance of the concentration of heptanoate and isovalerate were leachate generated from the bottom layer across all reactors. Heptanoate continued to dominate in the ZVMn added leachate even after middle layer injection. IC analysis concluded the chloride was dominant in the leachate generated from all the reactors and there was a steady increase in the chloride content over the period of time. Along with chloride, fluoride, bromide, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and sulfate were also detected in considerable concentrations. In the summary, the addition of the zero valent metals has proved to be efficient in removal of the organics present in the leachate.

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Date Created
2019

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Advancing the Anaerobic Biofilm Membrane Bioreactor

Description

The waterways in the United States are polluted by agricultural, mining, and industrial activities. Recovery of valuable materials, such as energy and nutrients, from these waste streams can improve the economic and environmental sustainability of wastewater treatment. A number of

The waterways in the United States are polluted by agricultural, mining, and industrial activities. Recovery of valuable materials, such as energy and nutrients, from these waste streams can improve the economic and environmental sustainability of wastewater treatment. A number of state-of-the-art anaerobic bioreactors have promise for intensified anaerobic biological treatment and energy recovery, but they have drawbacks. The drawbacks should be overcome with a novel anaerobic biological wastewater treatment process: the anaerobic biofilm membrane bioreactor (AnBfMBR). This research works aims to advance key components of the AnBfMBR. The AnBfMBR is a hybrid suspended growth and biofilm reactor. The two main components of an AnBfMBR are plastic biofilm carriers and membranes. The plastic biofilm carriers provide the surface onto which the biofilms grow. Membranes provide liquid-solid separation, retention of suspended biomass, and a solids-free effluent. Introducing sufficient surface area promotes the biofilm accumulation of slow-growing methanogens that convert volatile fatty acids into methane gas. Biofilms growing on these surfaces will have a mixed culture that primarily consists of methanogens and inert particulate solids, but also includes some acetogens. Biomass that detaches from biofilms become a component of the suspended growth. A bench-scale AnBfMBR was designed by the AnBfMBR project team and constructed by SafBon Water Technology (SWT). The primary objective of this thesis project was to evaluate the ability of plastic biofilm carriers to minimize ceramic-membrane fouling in the AnBfMBR setting. A systematic analysis of mixing for the bench-scale AnBfMBR was also conducted with the plastic biofilm carriers. Experiments were conducted following a ‘run to failure’ method, in which the ceramic membranes provide filtration, and the time it takes to reach a ‘failure transmembrane pressure (TMP)’ was recorded. The experiments revealed two distinct trends. First, the time to failure TMP decreased as mixed liquor suspended solids concentration (MLSS) concentration increased. Second, increasing the carrier fill extend the time to failure, particularly for higher MLSS concentrations. Taken together, the experiments identified an optimized “sweet spot” for the AnBfMBR: an operating flux of 0.25-m/d, a failure TMP of 0.3-atm pressure, MLSS of 5,000 – 7,500 mg/L, and 40% carrier fill.

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Date Created
2021