Biological removal of pharmaceuticals from hospital wastewater in a pilot-scale staged moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) utilising nitrifying and denitrifying processes

Gordon Tze Hoong Ooi, Kai Tang, Ravi Kumar Chhetri, Kamilla Marie Speht Kaarsholm, Kim Sundmark, Caroline Kragelund, Klaus Litty, Alice Christensen, Sabine Lindholst, Christina Sund, Magnus Christensson, Kai Bester, Henrik R. Andersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Hospital wastewater contains high concentrations of pharmaceuticals, which pose risks to receiving waters. In this study, a pilot plant consisting of six MBBRs in series (with the intention to integrate BOD removal, nitrification and denitrification as well as prepolishing COD for ozonation) was built to integrate pharmaceutical removal and intermittent feeding of the latter reactors aimed for micropollutant removal. Based on the experiments, nitrifying MBBRs achieved higher removal as compared to denitrifying MBBRs except for azithromycin, clarithromycin, diatrizoic acid, propranolol and trimethoprim. In the batch experiment, nitrifying MBBRs showed the ability to remove most of the analysed pharmaceuticals, with degradation rate constants ranging from 5.0 × 10-3 h-1 to 2.6 h-1. In general, the highest degradation rate constants are from the nitrifying MBBRs while the latter MBBRs showed lower degradation rate constant. However, when the degradation rate constants were normalised to the respective biomass, the intermittently fed reactors presented the highest specific activity. Out of the 22 compounds studied, 17 compounds were removed with more than 20%.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume267
Pages (from-to)677-687
ISSN0960-8524
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biofilm
  • Pilot-scale
  • Hospital wastewater
  • Degradation

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