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Anaerobic pretreatment of hazardous waste leachates in publicly owned treatment works

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Feasibility studies have been completed for an anaerobic pretreatment system designed to treat hazardous waste leachates in publicly owned treatment works. The system was designed to mitigate many of the problems associated with conventional aerobic treatment of these wastes and other types of dilute waterborne hazardous wastes. In this new approach, a contact/sorption stage consisting of an expanded bed of granular activated carbon (GAC) with an attached anaerobic biomass was used as a pretreatment device after primary clarification before the aerobic treatment portion of the plant. This sorption stage was intended to reduce pass-through of toxics, retaining them for subsequent treatment in a separate anaerobic stabilization reactor. The organic-rich GAC/biomass bed from the sorption stage was exchanged with stabilized GAC biomass from the anaerobic stabilization stage, conserving the GAC in the system.

Two 87-L/d bench-scale systems were operated for 332 days, one treating unspiked primary effluent and one treating primary effluent spiked with 5% landfill leachate and 14 hazardous organic compounds. In the spiked system, removals in the sorption stage were the highest for the aromatic compounds. Five of the six aromatics added were removed at over 95% and the sixth, phenol, had an 85% removal. Removals of chlorinated aliphatic compounds ranged from 52% for methylene chloride to 95% for trichloroethylene. Removals of phthalate compounds were approximately 60%. Removals of ketones ranged from 24% for acetone to 93% for methyl isobutyl ketone. Chemical oxygen demand removals remained at 40% to 50% throughout the year-long study in both systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 1995

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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