Removal of tetrachloroethene from polluted air by activated sludge

Agnieszka Tabernacka, Ewa Zborowska, Katarzyna Pogoda, Marcin Żołądek

A one-step technological system containing activated sludge fed with synthetic domestic wastewater was applied to treat waste air polluted with tetrachloroethene (PCE). In the first stage of the experiment, air passed through a bioscrubber; in the second and third stages, it passed through the bioreactor containing activated sludge and bacteria immobilised in oak chips. These bacteria are active in PCE biodegradation. Process efficiency in the final stage of the experiment was high; the elimination capacity was 0.23 g m−3 h−1 with the PCE mass loading rate of 0.58 g m−3 h−1. It has been shown that in the activated sludge bioreactor, bacteria adapted to PCE biodegradation and the wood chips protected microorganisms from the toxic effects of pollution. The dominant strains of bacteria immobilised in wood chips have been identified. Most of them were Gram-negative rods – Pseudomonas aeruginosaPseudomonas putidaRalstonia pickettii and Ochrobactrum anthropii. Only one strain was Gram-positive and of cylindrical shape. The results of the study indicate the potential of immobilised bacteria capable of degrading chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons for the air and wastewater treatment. The low cost of the treatment process is an advantage.

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