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Use of aged sludge bioaugmentation in two-stage activated sludge system to enhance the biodegradation of toxic organic compounds in high strength wastewater

Boonnorat, Jarungwit, Techkarnjanaruk, Somkiet, Honda, Ryo, Angthong, Sivakorn, Boonapatcharoen, Nimaradee, Muenmee, Sutharat, Prachanurak, Pradthana
Chemosphere 2018 v.202 pp. 208-217
activated sludge, bioaugmentation, biodegradation, leachates, nitrifying bacteria, nitrogen, organic compounds, toxicity, wastewater, wastewater treatment
This research investigates the toxic organic compounds biodegradation efficiency of two-stage activated sludge systems with (bioaugmented) and without aged sludge bioaugmentation (non-bioaugmented). The influent was a mixture of leachate and agriculture wastewater (1:1, v/v), used as the representative high strength wastewater. The bioaugmented and non-bioaugmented systems were operated in parallel, with three levels (low, moderate, and high) of concentrations of organics, nitrogen, and toxic organic compounds in the influent (conditions 1, 2, and 3). The results showed that both systems could efficiently degrade the organic compounds. Nevertheless, the toxic organic compounds biodegradation efficiency of the bioaugmented system was higher than that of the non-bioaugmented one. The bioaugmentation enhanced the overall removal efficiency under conditions 1 and 2. However, the bioaugmented system became less effective under condition 3. Further analysis indicated that the bacterial groups essential to the toxic organic compounds biodegradation were abundant in the aged sludge, including heterotrophic bacteria, heterotrophic nitrifying bacteria, and nitrifying bacteria. The abundance of the effective bacteria improved the biodegradation and wastewater treatment performance of the bioaugmented system. In essence, the aged sludge bioaugmentation is a viable and eco-friendly solution to improving the treatment efficiency of the biological activated sludge system, despite limited biodegradation efficiency in an elevated compounds-concentration environment.