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Sustained trichloroethylene cometabolism by phenol-degrading bacteria in sequencing biofilm reactors

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Bench-scale studies of a sequencing packed-bed bioreactor were conducted for the treatment of waters contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE). The reactor contained a mixed-culture biofilm grown aerobically on phenol; the biofilm cometabolized TCE in the absence of phenol. These studies focused on the effect of phenol-feeding strategies in relation to sustaining high levels of TCE removal efficiency. The reactor was cycled between a rejuvenation stage, during which phenol at 5, 25, or 100 mg/L was supplied in a nutrient water, and a degradation stage, during which TCE was supplied as a contaminant at 100 μg/L in the absence of phenol. Two to three hours of rejuvenation per 24 hours of TCE degradation were required for stable operation. Pseudo-first-order rate constants for TCE degradation between 50 and 100 L/g volatile suspended solids·d were sustained for up to 29 days. The successful feeding strategies yielded average TCE removals between 70 and 90% at a packed-bed hydraulic residence time of 14 minutes. Conceivably, a full-scale sequencing reactor could operate indefinitely with the proper feeding strategy.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1995-07-01

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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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