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Evaluation of biomass activity and wastewater characterization in a UCT-MBR pilot plant by means of respirometric techniques

  • Authors: DI TRAPANI, D.; Capodici, M.; Cosenza, A.; Di Bella, G.; Mannina, G.; Torregrossa, M.; Viviani, G.
  • Publication year: 2011
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Respirometric analysis; Biokinetic coefficients; Membrane Bioreactor (MBR); Wastewater treatment; Pilot plant experiment
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Over the last two decades, Membrane Bioreactors (MBRs) emerged even more for wastewater treatment, ensuring high removal efficiencies as well as very small footprint requirements. Indeed, in this kind of process, a modification in biomass activity and viability can exist compared to that of a CAS process. In this context, respirometric analysis represents a reliable tool in order to evaluate the actual biomass kinetic parameters, to insert in mathematical models in the design phase, as well as to monitor the biomass viability, especially when these processes are operated with high SRT values. The paper presents some results of respirometric techniques applied for the characterisation of wastewater and biomass activity in a pilot UCT-MBR plant for nutrient removal, operating with high SRT. In particular, the respirometric tests were specifically aimed at investigating heterotrophic and autotrophic bacterial activity. The pilot plant was built at Palermo WWTP and consisted of three reactors: anaerobic, anoxic and aerobic, followed by an aerobic compartment containing two submerged hollow fibre membrane modules with typical recycling lines. The kinetic parameters for heterotrophic bacteria resulted lower respect to the CAS; regarding the nitrifying bacteria, the kinetic constants were in the range of CAS, suggesting a good nitrification activity.