A pilot-scale fixed-biofilm reactor (FBR) was established to treat textile wastewater to evaluate the feasibility of replacing conventional treatment processes that involve activated sludge and coagulation units. A kinetic model was developed to describe the biodegradation of textile wastewater by FBR. Batch kinetic tests were performed to evaluate the biokinetic parameters that are used in the model. FBR column test was fed with a mean COD of 692 mg/L of textile wastewater from flow equalization unit. The influent flow rate was maintained at 48.4 L/h for FBR column test. Experimental data and model-predicted data for substrate effluent concentration (as COD), concentration of suspended biomass in effluent and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced in the effluent agree closely with each other. Microscopic observations demonstrated that the biofilm exhibited a uniform distribution on the surface of polyurethane foam sponge. Under a steady-state condition, the effluent COD from FBR was about 14.7 mg COD/L (0.0213 Sb0), meeting the discharge standard (COD < 100 mg/L) that has been set by the government of Taiwan for textile wastewater effluent. The amount of biofilm and suspended biomass reached a maximal value in the steady state when the substrate flux reached a constant value and remained maximal. Approximately 33% of the substrate concentration (as COD) was converted to CO2 during biodegradation in the FBR test. The experimental and modeling schemes proposed in this study could be employed to design a full-scale FBR to treat textile wastewater.

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