Sewer biofilms play an important role in the biotransformation of substances for methane and sulfide emission in sewer networks. The dynamic flows and the particular shear stress in sewers are the key factors determining the growth of the sewer biofilm. In this work, the development of sewer biofilm with varying shear stress is specifically investigated to gain a comprehensive understanding of the sewer biofilm dynamics. Sewer biofilms were cultivated in laboratory-scale gravity sewers under different hydraulic conditions with the corresponding shell stresses are 1.12 Pa, 1.29 Pa and 1.45 Pa, respectively. The evolution of the biofilm thickness were monitored using microelectrodes, and the variation in total solids (TS) and extracellular polymer substance (EPS) levels in the biofilm were also measured. The results showed that the steady-state biofilm thickness were highly related to the corresponding shear stresses with the biofilm thickness of 2.4 ± 0.1 mm, 2.7 ± 0.1 mm and 2.2 ± 0.1 mm at shear stresses of 1.12 Pa, 1.29 Pa and 1.45 Pa, respectively, which the chemical oxygen demand concentration is 400 mg/L approximately. Based on these observations, a kinetic model for describing the development of sewer biofilms was developed and demonstrated to be capable of reproducing all the experimental data.

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