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THREE-DIMENSIONAL MAPPING OF OXYGEN DISTRIBUTION IN WASTEWATER BIOFILMS USING MICROELECTRODES

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Abstract:

The three-dimensional oxygen distribution in wastewater biofilms was evaluated using combined oxygen microelectrodes and an automation system. The biofilms were sampled from the rotating biological contactors of a well-operated municipal wastewater treatment plant. The samples studied were mature biofilms with thickness of 630 μm to 1600 μm. The three-dimensional oxygen distribution maps provided new information about the structure and function of wastewater biofilms. The study showed that the concentration and the level of heterogeneity of dissolved oxygen inside the biofilms decreased with depth, forming stratification. A high heterogeneity of dissolved oxygen was found in the top portions of the biofilm samples, 40 μm below the biofilm surface. The dissolved oxygen concentrations at this depth were from 0 to 3 mg/L. The high heterogeneity of oxygen in the top portions of the biofilm samples suggested the presence of water with oxygen at these parts of the biofilms. The three-dimensional oxygen distribution maps revealed “pockets”; of dissolved oxygen in deep sections of biofilms. The dissolved oxygen concentrations of these pockets in the biofilm samples were from 0.2 mg/L to 0.9 mg/L at 680 μm and 760 μm depths. It was demonstrated that the biofilm surface is physically heterogeneous.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864703784639390

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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