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Open Access Petroleum Refinery Stripped Sour Water Treatment Using the Activated Sludge Process

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A pilot study was performed over 91 days to determine if the activated sludge process could treat a segregated stripped sour water (SSW) stream from a petroleum refinery. The study was performed in two periods. The first period was terminated after 19 days, as a result of excessive sludge bulking. The elimination of sludge bulking during the 70-day second period is attributed to operational changes, which included aerating the influent to oxidize reduced sulfur, adjusting the influent pH, and adding micronutrients to satisfy biological requirements. The pilot plant provided a chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal of up to 93%. Nitrification was achieved, with effluent ammonia values <1 mg-N/L. These results indicate that direct treatment of SSW with the activated sludge process is possible and has direct application to full-scale petroleum refinery wastewater plant upgrades.

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Keywords: activated sludge; petroleum refining; reduced sulfur; stripped sour water

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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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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