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The aerobic biodegradation of methyl TERT-butyl ether (MTBE) was investigated using a pilot-scale Biomass Concentrator Reactor (BCR). The BCR was operated for almost two years. Initially, the reactor was treating 2500 L/d of GAC-dechlorinated tap water spiked with MTBE to provide influent feed concentrations of 1 and 5 mg/L. The reactor's operation was optimized by increasing the water flow rate to 5000 L/d. At steady state conditions, the total removal efficiency of MTBE in the reactor exceeded 99.8 % for all substrate concentrations and water flow rates examined. Effluent concentrations of MTBE and its only degradation byproduct to be detected, tert-butyl alcohol (TBA), varied between 0.88–2.30 μg/L and 0.27–0.67 μg/L, respectively. TBA was observed to be consistently less than MTBE in the effluent. In addition, the effluent was found to be of better quality than the GAC-treated Cincinnati tap water fed into the reactor as measured by dissolved organic carbon.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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