This work presents a mathematical model to describe the biodegradation of phenolic wastewater in a fixed-biofilm process. The model incorporates diffusive mass transport and Haldane kinetics mechanisms. The model was solved using a combination of the orthogonal collocation method and Gear's method. A laboratory-scale column reactor was employed to verify the model. Batch kinetic tests were conducted independently to determine biokinetic parameters for the model simulation with the initial biofilm thickness assumed. The model simulated the phenol effluent concentration results well. Removal efficiency for phenol was approximately 94–96.5% for different hydraulic retention times at a steady-state condition. Model simulations results are in agreement with experimental results. The approaches of model and experiments presented in this paper could be used to design a pilot-scale or full-scale fixed-biofilm reactor system for the biodegradation of phenolic wastewater from petrochemical and oil refining plants.

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