Author(s): Serrano D, Surez S, Lema JM, Omil F
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Abstract The performance of a membrane bioreactor operating in a sequential mode (SMBR) using an external flat-plate membrane was investigated. After 200 days of operation, a single addition of 1 g L(-1) Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) was added directly into the mixed liquor in order to enhance the simultaneous removal of nutrients and pharmaceutical micropollutants from synthetic urban wastewater. Throughout the entire operation (288 days), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal efficiencies were up to 95\%, ammonium nitrogen removal was maintained over 70-80\%, whereas phosphorus removal achieved only high values (around 80\%) after PAC addition. During the operation of the SMBR without PAC addition, micropollutants which exerted a more recalcitrant behaviour were carbamazepine, diazepam, diclofenac and trimethoprim, with no significant removal. On the other hand, moderate removals (42-64\%) were observed for naproxen and erythromycin, whereas ibuprofen, roxithromycin and fluoxetine were removed in the range of 71-97\%. The addition of PAC into the aeration tank was a successful tool to improve the removal of the more recalcitrant compounds up to 85\%. The highest removal with PAC was observed for carbamazepine, trimethoprim as well as for roxithromycin, erythromycin and fluoxetine. The latter four compounds have amine groups and pKa in the range 6.7-10.1, thus the interaction between PAC and the positively charged amino groups might be the cause of their comparatively better results. Microbial ecology present in the biomass showed a higher abundance of Accumulibacter phosphatis as well as the ammonium oxidizing bacteria belonging to the genus Nitrosomonas after PAC addition. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Water Res
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine