There are few studies in the literature that have aimed at characterizing the physical, chemical, and microbial aspects of scum produced in UASB reactors. In addition, there is little information on the influence of operational conditions of UASB reactors on scum formation, and the present work addresses these issues. Three demo-scale UASB reactors, fed on domestic wastewater, were employed to monitor the formation and its characteristics. Scum production was periodically assessed during different operational phases, and its characterization involved analyses of BOD, COD, solids, sulfide, sulfate, microscopic observations, as well as biodegradability tests. The results show that the scum formed was physically, chemically, and microscopically similar in both geminated reactors, being comprised mainly of organic material of low biodegradability. Several bacterial morphotypes, mainly filaments and rods, with internal sulfur granules, were observed, and the aerobic microorganisms that developed at the scum layer as a result of photosynthetic activity of cyanobacteria, seemed to play an important role in sulfide removal and odour control. Scum production rates were similar in both reactors, but the imposed higher upflow velocities resulted in a higher production rate and in a reduced biodegradability of the scum.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.