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Treatment of strongflow wool scouring effluent by biological emulsion destabilisation

Poole, A.J. and Cord-Ruwisch, R. (2004) Treatment of strongflow wool scouring effluent by biological emulsion destabilisation. Water Research, 38 (6). pp. 1419-1426.

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The stable oil-in-water emulsion contained in wool scouring effluent was destabilised by aerobic biological treatment as the basis of a potential new effluent treatment process. The de-emulsified wool wax, which is recalcitrant to biodegradation, can then be readily removed by centrifugation. In 12-day batch experiments, 97% of wool wax and 87% of COD were removed after gentle centrifuging at 200 x g, compared to only 6% and 8%, respectively, for sterile controls. Steady-state chemostat experiments under optimum conditions gave essentially complete removal of wool wax and 90% removal of COD at less than 40h retention time, and demonstrated that the mechanism of pollutant removal was by bioflocculation rather than aerobic degradation. At 100L pilot scale, 95% of wool wax and 82% of COD were consistently removed over a period of 116 days of continuous operation at 38h retention time and 30°C, producing a spadable sludge of 5.7mL/g. Variable influent concentration or filamentous bacteria did not disrupt this process and foaming was readily controlled using a mechanical foam breaker. After a shutdown period of 15 days the process could be restarted easily, achieving normal performance within one retention time. The successful operation of the pilot reactor suggests this process could be developed to full scale and incorporated into an overall treatment package.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: Crown Copyright © 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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