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Anaerobic Digestion of Aircraft Deicing Fluid Wastes: Interactions and Toxicity of Corrosion Inhibitors and Surfactants

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Corrosion inhibitors and surfactants are present in aircraft deicing fluids (ADFs) at significant concentrations (> 1% w/w). The purpose of this research was to study the interactions of a common nonionic surfactant with the commercially significant corrosion inhibitors used in modern ADF (4- and 5-methylbenzotriazole [MeBT]), and to determine the effects of their mixture on the conventional anaerobic digestion process. In mesophilic anaerobic microcosms codigesting wastewater solids, propylene glycol, and MeBT, increasing surfactant levels resulted in enhanced MeBT sorption on digester solids. As judged by anaerobic toxicity assays, responses from digesters containing surfactant concentrations below their critical micelle concentration (CMC) suggested that low nonionic surfactant concentrations could facilitate a reduction in the apparent toxicity of MeBT. In microcosms exposed to surfactant concentrations above their CMC, no increase in MeBT solubility was observed, and the anaerobic toxicity response corresponded to control systems not containing surfactant. Direct microscopic measurements of digesting biomass using fluorescent phylogenetic probes (fluorescent in situ hybridization) revealed that members of the domain Bacteria were more sensitive to MeBT in the presence of surfactant than were members of the domain Archaea.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2002

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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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