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Advanced steady-state model for the fate of hydrophobic and volatile compounds in activated sludge

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A steady-state, advanced, general fate model developed to study the fate of organic compounds in primary and activated-sludge systems. This model considers adsorption, biodegradation from the dissolved and adsorbed phases, bubble volatilization, and surface volatilization as removal mechanisms. A series of modeling experiments was performed to identify the key trends of these removal mechanisms for compounds with a range of molecular properties. With typical municipal wastewater treatment conditions, the results from the modeling experiments show that co-metabolic and primary utilization mechanisms give very different trends in biodegradation for the compounds tested. For co-metabolism, the effluent concentration increases when the influent concentration increases, while the effluent concentration remains unchanged when primary utilization occurs, For a highly hydrophobic compound (partition coefficient K d > 0.01 m3/g VSS), the fraction of compound removed from adsorption onto primary sludge can be very important, and the direct biodegradation of compound sorbed to the activated sludge greatly increases its biodegradation and reduces its discharge with the waste activated sludge. Volatilization from the surface of the primary and secondary systems is important for compounds with moderate to high volatilities (Henry's law constant Hc = 0.001 to 0.1 m3 water/m3 air), especially when these compounds are not biodegradable. Finally, bubble volatilization can be a major removal mechanism for highly volatile compounds (Hc > 0.8 m3 water/m3 air), even when they are highly biodegradable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-09-01

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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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