The Mexican petrochemical industry, Morelos S.A. de C.V., is one of the biggest and more important petroleum industries in Mexico and Latin America. It has an activated sludge system to treat its wastewater flow, which is approximately 7,000 m3/d. The wastewater contains volatile organic carbon substances classified as toxics. The old surface aeration system was changed for fine bubble diffusers; however, one major drawback of the new aeration system is that the temperature in the bioreactor has increased due to the compression of the air, which at the compressor exit reaches 85 °C. This effect results in the temperature in the bioreactor attaining 32 °C during the fall, whereas in the spring and summer, the bioreactor temperature reaches higher values than 40 °C. The high temperatures reduce the microorganism activity and cause a higher volatilisation rate of volatile compounds, among other effects, which affect the performance of the biological treatment. This work was performed to obtain a better modelling of the wastewater treatment from the petrochemical industry. The model describes the effect of the temperature on the performance of the biological treatment. The model was obtained from tests that were carried out in laboratory reactors with 14 L capacity, which were operated at different temperatures (from 30 to 45 °C), with the same wastewater and conditions as the actual system.

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