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Performance of an anaerobic, static bed, fixed film bioreactor for chlorinated solvent treatment

July 23, 2015

Anaerobic, fixed film, bioreactors bioaugmented with a dechlorinating microbial consortium were evaluated as a potential technology for cost effective, sustainable, and reliable treatment of mixed chlorinated ethanes and ethenes in groundwater from a large groundwater recovery system. Bench- and pilot-scale testing at about 3 and 13,500 L, respectively, demonstrated that total chlorinated solvent removal to less than the permitted discharge limit of 100 μg/L. Various planned and unexpected upsets, interruptions, and changes demonstrated the robustness and reliability of the bioreactor system, which handled the operational variations with no observable change in performance. Key operating parameters included an adequately long hydraulic retention time for the surface area, a constant supply of electron donor, pH control with a buffer to minimize pH variance, an oxidation reduction potential of approximately −200 millivolts or lower, and a well-adapted biomass capable of degrading the full suite of chlorinated solvents in the groundwater. Results indicated that the current discharge criteria can be met using a bioreactor technology that is less complex and has less downtime than the sorption based technology currently being used to treat the groundwater.