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Use of High Rate Biotrickling Filters Operating at 7 s EBRT for Odor Control at Municipal WWTP

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Problem: The Buckman Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) is the largest and oldest wastewater treatment plant operated by JEA, a regional utility serving Northeast Florida. Due to the generally high concentration of odorous compounds, in particular H2S, in the wastewater, along with production of odors during the wastewater treatment processes, the plant creates significant odor challenges for JEA. This is compounded by the fact that the plant is located in a densely-populated area within the urban core of the city.

Solution: In order to reduce the odor impact on its neighbors, JEA purchased three biotrickling filters as part of a larger plant expansion at the Buckman WRF. Two separate EcoFilter® EF1242 biotrickling filter systems were designed to treat odor from the existing Biosolids Disposal Building and the Influent Pump Station, and a single EcoFilter EF82 biotrickling filter system was designed to treat odors from the existing Raw Sludge Holding Tank. The two EcoFilter EF1242 systems replaced existing chemical scrubbers.

The biotrickling filter treating air from the Biosolids Disposal Building has a design airflow capacity of 26,335 m3/hr (15,500 cfm), with a corresponding empty-bed residence time (EBRT) of 6.7 s. The biotrickling filters at the Influent Pump Station and Sludge Holding Tank treat 25,485 m3/hr (15,000 cfm) and 6796 m3/hr (4,000 cfm), respectively, at EBRT of less than 7 s.

The 26,335 m3/hr (15,500 cfm) design airflow of the biotrickling filter installed at the Biosolids Diposal Building is believed to be the highest airflow treated by any single biotrickling filter vessel in the world. The system is designed to achieve more than 90% reduction of overall odors plus eliminate more than 99% of the H2S in the odorous air. After startup and acclimation, the EcoFilter system removed > 99.99% of inlet H2S from the airstream, which had an average inlet H2S concentration of 148 ppmv.

Impact: The biotrickling filter system treating odorous air from the JEA Buckman WRF Biosolids Disposal Building has demonstrated more than 99.99% H2S removal at an EBRT of 7.0 s and > 99% H2S removal with an EBRT of 3.5 s. The significance of this installation is that normal industry standards require biological systems to be designed for 10-20 s EBRT, which results in larger reactor vessels and high capital cost. By demonstrating removal of both H2S and odors at less than half of the industry normal EBRT, the EcoFilter proved to reduce capital cost as well as the equipment's required footprint, the latter of which is becoming more of a challenge for wastewater treatment plants located in landlocked urban communities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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