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Article

Loofah Sponges as Bio-Carriers in a Pilot-Scale Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge System for Municipal Wastewater Treatment

1
Faculty of Environmental Engineering, National University of Civil Engineering, No 55, Giai Phong Street, Hanoi 84024, Vietnam
2
Faculty of Environmental Sciences, VNU University of Science, 334 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi 84024, Vietnam
3
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, 161 Louis Pasteur Pvt., Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4758; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114758
Received: 15 May 2020 / Revised: 4 June 2020 / Accepted: 5 June 2020 / Published: 10 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Municipal Wastewater Management)
Fixed-film biofilm reactors are considered one of the most effective wastewater treatment processes, however, the cost of their plastic bio-carriers makes them less attractive for application in developing countries. This study evaluated loofah sponges, an eco-friendly renewable agricultural product, as bio-carriers in a pilot-scale integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) system for the treatment of municipal wastewater. Tests showed that pristine loofah sponges disintegrated within two weeks resulting in a decrease in the treatment efficiencies. Accordingly, loofah sponges were modified by coating them with CaCO3 and polymer. IFAS pilot tests using the modified loofah sponges achieved 83% organic removal and 71% total nitrogen removal and met Vietnam’s wastewater effluent discharge standards. The system achieved considerably high levels of nitrification and it was not limited by the loading rate or dissolved oxygen levels. Cell concentrations in the carriers were twenty to forty times higher than those within the aeration tank. Through 16S-rRNA sequencing, the major micro-organism types identified were Kluyvera cryocrescens, Exiguobacterium indicum, Bacillus tropicus, Aeromonas hydrophila, Enterobacter cloacae, and Pseudomonas turukhanskensis. This study demonstrated that although modified loofah sponges are effective renewable bio-carriers for municipal wastewater treatment, longer-term testing is recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: integrated fixed-film activated sludge systems; modified loofah sponge; bio-carrier; microbial density; municipal wastewater integrated fixed-film activated sludge systems; modified loofah sponge; bio-carrier; microbial density; municipal wastewater
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dang, H.T.T.; Dinh, C.V.; Nguyen, K.M.; Tran, N.T.H.; Pham, T.T.; Narbaitz, R.M. Loofah Sponges as Bio-Carriers in a Pilot-Scale Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge System for Municipal Wastewater Treatment. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4758. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114758

AMA Style

Dang HTT, Dinh CV, Nguyen KM, Tran NTH, Pham TT, Narbaitz RM. Loofah Sponges as Bio-Carriers in a Pilot-Scale Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge System for Municipal Wastewater Treatment. Sustainability. 2020; 12(11):4758. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114758

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dang, Huyen T.T., Cuong V. Dinh, Khai M. Nguyen, Nga T.H. Tran, Thuy T. Pham, and Roberto M. Narbaitz 2020. "Loofah Sponges as Bio-Carriers in a Pilot-Scale Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge System for Municipal Wastewater Treatment" Sustainability 12, no. 11: 4758. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114758

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