Abstract

Two bioreactors were investigated as an alternative for the post-treatment of effluent from a UASB reactor treating domestic sewage, aiming at dissolved sulfide and methane removal. The bioreactors (R-control and R-air) were operated at different hydraulic retention times (6 and 3 h) with or without aeration. Large sulfide and methane removal efficiencies were achieved by the microaerated reactor at HRTs of 6 h. At this HRT, sulfide removal efficiencies were equal to 61% and 79%, and methane removal efficiencies were 31% and 55% for R-control and R-air, respectively. At an HRT of 3 h, sulfide removal efficiencies were 22% (R-control) and 33% (R-air) and methane removal did not occur. The complete oxidation of sulfide, with sulfate formation, prevailed in both phases and bioreactors. However, elemental sulfur formation was more predominant at an HRT of 6 h than at an HRT of 3 h. Taken together, the results show that post-treatment improved the anaerobic effluent quality in terms of COD and solids removal. However, ammoniacal nitrogen was not removed due to either the low concentration of air provided or the absence of microorganisms involved in the nitrogen cycle.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Post-treatment of UASB effluent treating real domestic wastewater.

  • Biological oxidation of dissolved sulfide and methane.

  • Microaeration to improve anaerobic effluent treated.

  • Methanotrophic and sulfur (purple and green sulfur) bacteria.

  • Microbial community in bioreactors treating anaerobic effluent.

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