The solvent stabilizer 1,4-dioxane could have harmful effects on an ecosystem. The discharge limit of 1,4-dioxane in a body of water will be regulated at 5 mg/L in Republic of Korea. Thus, the currently operating activated sludge used in the manufacture of polyester should be properly treated to meet the regulations. Accordingly, the removal rate of 1,4-dioxane and its microbial properties was assessed at K, H and T corporations. The highest removal efficiencies were recorded at H. However, the concentration of 1,4-dioxane in the effluent of T exceeded the criterion. In addition, a microbial degradation test was conducted on 100 mg/L of 1,4-dioxane inoculated with the activated sludge from each of the three corporations. After 7 days, the 1,4-dioxane was completely removed with the H sludge and efficiencies were 67% in the T sludge and 52% in the K sludge. These results confirm that the biodegradability of 1,4-dioxane may vary in relation to the microbial properties. The microbial diversity of activated sludge of each company was therefore investigated by 16S rDNA cloning methods. In conclusion, the activated sludge of H is the most effective for the biodegradation of 1,4-dioxane. This fact is of significant concern for the industrial sector.

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