A mathematical model is proposed to predict the removal of dissolved organic substances and the consumption of dissolved oxygen by attached biofilms in an open-channel flow. The model combines the biofilm equations with the conventional Streeter–Phelps type equations of river water quality by considering the mass transfer of organics and oxygen in the river water through the diffusion layer into the biofilm. It is assumed that the diffusion and reaction within the biofilm are of steady-state, and follow Monod kinetics. The model is solved numerically with a trial-and-error method. The simulation results of the model for an ideal case of river flow and biofilm show that the organic removal rate and oxygen consumption rate caused by the biofilm are greater than that by suspended biomass. The effects of diffusion layer thickness, flow velocity, and biofilm thickness on the change of river water quality are discussed.

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