Author(s): Kriipsalu M, Marques M, Nammari DR, Hogland W
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Abstract The objective was to investigate the aerobic biodegradation of oily sludge generated by a flotation-flocculation unit (FFU) of an oil refinery wastewater treatment plant. Four 1m(3) pilot bioreactors with controlled air-flow were filled with FFU sludge mixed with one of the following amendments: sand (M1); matured oil compost (M2); kitchen waste compost (M3) and shredded waste wood (M4). The variables monitored were: pH, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), total carbon (C(tot)), total nitrogen (N(tot)) and total phosphorus (P(tot)). The reduction of TPH based on mass balance in M1, M2, M3 and M4 after 373 days of treatment was 62, 51, 74 and 49\%; the reduction of PAHs was 97\%, +13\% (increase), 92 and 88\%, respectively. The following mechanisms alone or in combination might explain the results: (i) most organics added with amendments biodegrade faster than most petroleum hydrocarbons, resulting in a relative increase in concentration of these recalcitrant contaminants; (ii) some amendments result in increased amounts of TPH and PAHs to be degraded in the mixture; (iii) sorption-desorption mechanisms involving hydrophobic compounds in the organic matrix reduce bioavailability, biodegradability and eventually extractability; (iv) mixture heterogeneity affecting sampling. Total contaminant mass reduction seems to be a better parameter than concentration to assess degradation efficiency in mixtures with high content of biodegradable amendments.
This article was published in J Hazard Mater
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation