Sludge Retention Time as a Suitable Operational Parameter to Remove Both Estrogen and Nutrients in an Anaerobic-Anoxic-Aerobic Activated Sludge System.

TitleSludge Retention Time as a Suitable Operational Parameter to Remove Both Estrogen and Nutrients in an Anaerobic-Anoxic-Aerobic Activated Sludge System.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZeng Q, Li Y, Yang S
JournalEnvironmental engineering science
Volume30
Issue4
Pagination161-169
Date Published2013 Apr
Abstract

Estrogen in wastewater are responsible for a significant part of the endocrine-disrupting effects observed in the aquatic environment. The effect of sludge retention time (SRT) on the removal and fate of 17β-estradiol (E2) and 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2) in an anaerobic-anoxic-oxic activated sludge system designed for nutrient removal was investigated by laboratory-scale experiments using synthetic wastewater. With a hydraulic retention time of 8 h, when SRT ranged 10-25 days, E2 was almost completely removed from water, and EE2 removal efficiency was 65%-81%. Both estrogens were easily sorbed onto activated sludge. Distribution coefficients (K d) of estrogens on anaerobic sludge were greater than those on anoxic and aerobic sludges. Mass balance calculation indicated that 99% of influent E2 was degraded by the activated sludge process, and 1% remained in excess sludge; of influent EE2, 62.0%-80.1% was biodegraded; 18.9%-34.7% was released in effluent; and 0.88%-3.31% remained in excess sludge. Optimal SRT was 20 days for both estrogen and nutrient removal. E2 was almost completely degraded, and EE2 was only partly degraded in the activated sludge process. Residual estrogen on excess sludge must be considered in the sludge treatment and disposal processes. The originality of the work is that removal of nutrients and estrogens were linked, and optimal SRT for both estrogen and nutrient removal in an enhanced biological phosphorus removal system was determined. This has an important implication for the design and operation of full-scale wastewater treatment plants.

DOI10.2174/1874120720130701002
Alternate JournalEnviron. Eng. Sci.