Author(s): Tabak HH, Govind R
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Several biotreatmemt techniques for sulfate conversion by the sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) have been proposed in the past, however few of them have been practically applied to treat sulfate containing acid mine drainage (AMD). This research deals with development of an innovative polypropylene hollow fiber membrane bioreactor system for the treatment of acid mine water from the Berkeley Pit, Butte, MT, using hydrogen consuming SRB biofilms. The advantages of using the membrane bioreactor over the conventional tall liquid phase sparged gas bioreactor systems are: large microporous membrane surface to the liquid phase; formation of hydrogen sulfide outside the membrane, preventing the mixing with the pressurized hydrogen gas inside the membrane; no requirement of gas recycle compressor; membrane surface is suitable for immobilization of active SRB, resulting in the formation of biofilms, thus preventing washout problems associated with suspended culture reactors; and lower operating costs in membrane bioreactors, eliminating gas recompression and gas recycle costs. Information is provided on sulfate reduction rate studies and on biokinetic tests with suspended SRB in anaerobic digester sludge and sediment master culture reactors and with SRB biofilms in bench-scale SRB membrane bioreactors. Biokinetic parameters have been determined using biokinetic models for the master culture and membrane bioreactor systems. Data are presented on the effect of acid mine water sulfate loading at 25, 50, 75 and 100 ml/min in scale-up SRB membrane units, under varied temperatures (25, 35 and 40 degrees C) to determine and optimize sulfate conversions for an effective AMD biotreatment. Pilot-scale studies have generated data on the effect of flow rates of acid mine water (MGD) and varied inlet sulfate concentrations in the influents on the resultant outlet sulfate concentration in the effluents and on the number of SRB membrane modules needed for the desired sulfate conversion in those systems. The pilot-scale data indicate that the SRB membrane bioreactors systems can be applied toward field-scale biotreatment of AMD and for recovery of high purity metals and an agriculturally usable water.
This article was published in Biodegradation
and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research