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Anaerobic biodegradation potential of photoprocessing wastewaters

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The anaerobic biodegradation potential of photoprocessing effluents and their effect on the anaerobic digestion of biological sludge generated from the aerobic treatment of photoprocessing wastewaters were investigated. Simulated C-41 photoprocessing wastewaters were subjected to an anaerobic toxicity test using the serum bottle technique. Unacclimated, anaerobic sludge inocula were used and the test solutions consisted of photoprocessing wastewaters and readily degradable organic substrates. Concentrations of photoeffluents considerably higher than those expected to reach municipal wastewater treatment plants initially depressed the production of methane, mainly because of competition between sulfate reducing and methanogenic bacteria. After prolonged incubation, methanogenesis recovered.

Biological sludge generated by laboratory-scale activated sludge reactors with and without photoeffluents was fed to anaerobic digesters without adverse effects. The digesters fed sludge from the aerobic treatment of photoeffluents achieved about 14% higher digestibility than did the digester fed with sludge never exposed to the photoeffluents. For photoeffluent levels expected to reach municipal wastewater treatment plants, no adverse effects on anaerobic digestion are expected.

Keywords: activated sludge; anaerobic; biodegradation; digestion; photoprocessing

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1994

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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