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Evaluation of Tire Derived Rubber Particles for Biofiltration Media

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Currently, on average, one tire is discarded in the U.S. for every man woman and child every year. While the reuse market for used tires has increased over the years to approximately 75%, there are still an estimated 2–3 billion used tires stockpiled in the U.S. Finding economical and sustainable end uses for this tire material is an ongoing challenge to environmental engineers and others. In this study, three different uses of tire rubber were evaluated as biofilm attachment media in bioreactors for wastewater treatment: in an aerobic biofilter, in anoxic bioreactor, and in a hybrid anaerobic static granular bed reactor (SGBR). Size distribution, chemical composition, scanning electron microscopy, and whole effluent toxicity analyses were performed. These tests demonstrated that the tire rubber media was non-toxic and provided good surface area for biofilm attachment. The trickling filter system using chunk rubber (average diameter of approximately 3 cm) achieved 79.6-90.1% COD removal efficiency at organic loading rates ranging from 0.12 kg COD/m3·d to 0.34 kg COD/m3·d. In the hybrid SGBR, anaerobic granular sludge was augmented with fine rubber particles (average particle diameter of approximately 0.2 mm) and achieved greater than 90% COD removal at hydraulic retention times of 48 to 20 h resulting in organic loading increases from 0.44 to 2.7 kg/m3·d. The anoxic TDRP filter system achieved nitrate-nitrogen removal efficiencies greater than 97% at influent concentrations ranging from 52 to 94 mg NO3-N/L. This research demonstrated the utility of TDRP media in multiple biofiltration applications.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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