An investigation of the effects of the addition of powdered activated carbon to the activated sludge of cellulose acetate manufacturing wastewater

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Equilibrium powdered activated carbon (PAC) concentrations of 20, 160, and 280 mg/L in activated sludge reactors treating cellulose acetate manufacturing wastewater were found to enhance substrate removal. The improved substrate removal as measured by COD averaged 20 percent. The apparent mechanism of improved removal was the stimulation of greater biomass growth.

PAC addition increased the oxygen uptake rate (OUR), the observed cell yield coefficient (Ybbs) and the first order substrate removal coefficient (Kb) of the activated sludge system, which were operated at a temperature of 18°C and a biological solids retention times of fourteen days. The addition of PAC also improved the sludge settleability but this resulted in higher effluent suspended solids concentration because zone settling Velocity was the primary factor affecting effluent suspended solids.

A type of activated sludge bulking, known as jelly formation, plagued the biological reactors but nitrogen addition appeared to solve the problem