Aquatic environment

Simultaneous removal of selected oxidized contaminants in groundwater using a continuously stirred hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor

Siqing Xia , Jun Liang , Xiaoyin Xu , Shuang Shen


Received March 10, 2012,Revised June 02, 2012, Accepted , Available online January 11, 2013

Volume ,2013,Pages 96-104

A laboratory trial was conducted for evaluating the capability of a continuously stirred hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor to simultaneously reduce nitrate (NO3--N), sulfate (SO42-), bromate (BrO3-), hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) and para-chloronitrobenzene (p-CNB). The reactor contained two bundles of hollow fiber membranes functioning as an autotrophic biofilm carrier and hydrogen pipe as well. On the condition that hydrogen was supplied as electron donor and diffused into water through membrane pores, autohydrogenotrophic bacteria were capable of reducing contaminants to forms with lower toxicity. Reduction occurred within 1 day and removal fluxes for NO3--N, SO42-, BrO3-, Cr(VI), and p-CNB reached 0.641, 2.396, 0.008, 0.016 and 0.031 g/(day·m2), respectively after 112 days of continuous operation. Except for the fact that sulfate was 37% removed under high surface loading, the other four contaminants were reduced by over 95%. The removal flux comparison between phases varying in surface loading and H2 pressure showed that decreasing surface loading or increasing H2 pressure would promote removal flux. Competition for electrons occurred among the five contaminants. Electron-equivalent flux analysis showed that the amount of utilized hydrogen was mainly controlled by NO3--N and SO42- reduction, which accounted for over 99% of the electron flux altogether. It also indicated the electron acceptor order, showing that nitrate was the most prior electron acceptor while sulfate was the second of the five contaminants.

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