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Effect of Sulfide Inhibition and Organic Shock Loading on Anaerobic Biofilm Reactors Treating a Low-Temperature, High-Sulfate Wastewater

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To assess the long-term treatment of sulfate- and carbon-rich wastewater at low temperatures, anaerobic biofilm reactors were operated for over 900 days at 20°C and fed wastewater containing lactate and sulfate. Results showed the reactors could be operated at 20°C with a load rate of 1.3 g-chemical oxygen demand (COD)/L · d or less and a sulfur loading rate (SLR) of 0.2 g-S/L · d, with no significant deterioration in performance. With acclimation periods, load rates of 3.4 g-COD/L · d and SLR of 0.3 g/L · d could be tolerated. Effluent dissolved sulfide and hydrogen sulfide levels were approximately 600 and 150 mg-S/L, respectively, during this period. The effect of organic shock loading was also assessed. Reactors appeared to recover from one, but not two, lactate spikes of approximately 5000 mg-COD/L. Long-term stability was achieved in reactors containing large, stable populations of lactate- and propionate-degrading sulfate-reducing bacteria and aceticlastic methanogens.
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Keywords: anaerobic biofilm reactors; low temperature; organic shock loading; sulfate reduction; sulfide inhibition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Publication date: 01 March 2009

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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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