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Performance of membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems for the treatment of shipboard slops: Assessment of hydrocarbon biodegradation and biomass activity under salinity variation

  • Autori: Di Bella, G.; Di Prima, N.; Di Trapani, D.; Freni, G.; Giustra, M.; Torregrossa, M.; Viviani, G.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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In order to prevent hydrocarbon discharge at sea from ships, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) enacted the MARPOL 73/78 convention in which any oil and oil residue discharged in wastewater streams must contain less than 5. ppm hydrocarbons. Effective treatment of this petroleum-contaminated water is essential prior to its release into the environment, in order to prevent pollution problem for marine ecosystems as well as for human health. Therefore, two bench scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) were investigated for hydrocarbon biodegradation. The two plants were initially fed with synthetic wastewater characterised by an increasing salinity, in order to enhance biomass acclimation to salinity. Subsequently, they were fed with a mixture of synthetic wastewater and real shipboard slops (with an increasing slops percentage up to 50% by volume). The results indicated a satisfactory biomass acclimation level in both plants with regards to salinity, providing significant removal efficiencies. The real slops exerted an inhibitory effect on the biomass, partially due to hydrocarbons as well as to other concomitant influences from other compounds contained in the real slops difficult to evaluate a priori. Nevertheless, a slight adaptation of the biomass to the new conditions was observed, with increasing removal efficiencies, despite the significant slops percentage.