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Pilot Testing Results of a Two-Stage Anaerobic System Treating Distillery Wastewater

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Wastewater generated during the rum manufacturing process must be treated prior to its discharge to surface water. One distillery's onsite wastewater treatment plant consists of an equalization tank followed by four fixed-film, down-flow, single-stage anaerobic reactors. It was hypothesized that the addition and optimization of a first-stage acidification reactor, while maintaining the existing second-stage methanogenic reactors, would significantly increase the capacity of the WWTP by driving acidogenesis towards production of acetic acid (minimizing longer chain VFAs), the primary substrate for methanogenesis. To investigate this concept, a pilot-scale system was operated consisting of a completely-mixed, suspended growth first-stage acidification reactor followed by a second-stage fixed-film reactor operated in a down-flow mode. Results showed that the optimum HRT of the acidification reactor is 24 hours or less and that rigorous pH control in the acidification reactor is crucial to the production of acetic acid, with the optimum pH being 5.5 s.u.
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Keywords: Acidogenesis; Anaerobic; Distillery; Hydraulic Retention Time; Methanogenesis; Two-Stage; Volatile Fatty Acids; Wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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