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Odor and Volatile Organic Compound Treatment by Biotrickling Filters: Pilot-Scale Studies at Hyperion Treatment Plant

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A pilot-scale biotrickling filter was installed at the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Los Angeles, California, to study hydrogen sulfide (odor) and volatile organic compound (VOC) removal from headworks waste air. The performance of the reactor was continuously monitored during a 10-month period. At an average empty bed gas residence time of 24 seconds, 10 to 50 ppm of hydrogen sulfide was consistently removed at greater than 98% efficiency, corresponding to an average volumetric elimination capacity of 5.2 g/m3·h. Concentration profiles over the height of the reactor indicated nearly complete removal in the first section of the reactor, suggesting that elimination capacities up to 30 g/m3·h could be obtained. The odor reduction (as dilution to threshold) was 98%, which correlated with the efficiency of removal of hydrogen sulfide as the primary pollutant. Volatile organic compounds were present at concentrations up to 225 ppb. Moderate but significant removal of toluene and benzene was observed when the biotrickling filter was operated with pH control to neutralize sulfuric acid production from hydrogen sulfide oxidation. Xylenes and chlorinated VOCs were not removed regardless of experimental conditions in the reactor. The results led to the conclusion that VOC removal is the limiting process in biotrickling filters for the simultaneous removal of hydrogen sulfide and VOCs at publicly owned treatment works.
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Keywords: BIOLOGICAL WASTE AIR TREATMENT; BIOTRICKLING FILTER; HYDROGEN SULFIDE; ODOR; PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS; VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-11-01

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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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