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Open Access Avoiding Digester Upset

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The acetate uptake bioassay (AUB) is a predictive measure for determining the stability of anaerobic digesters, but its use is rare due to the limited availability of gas chromatography equipment at wastewater treatment facilities. A water displacement system was compared and evaluated as an alternative to gas chromatography analysis for conducting the AUB. Results indicated that methane generation rates measured by the two methods were statistically the same. Precision of the method varied by less than 5%. Accuracy was quantified by measuring near stoichiometric volumes of carbon dioxide gas production from abiotic tests using sodium carbonate and hydrochloric acid. The method detection limit (MDL) was 0.6 mL. The effective use of a water displacement system as a surrogate for gas chromatography analysis could make the adoption of the AUB for predicting digester stability a practical option for treatment facilities.

Keywords: acetate uptake; anaerobic digester; gas chromatography; gas measurement; methane; stability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, Seattle University, Seattle, Washington. 2: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Seattle University, Seattle, Washington.

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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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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