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Open AccessArticle

Heterotrophic Kinetic Study and Nitrogen Removal of a Membrane Bioreactor System Treating Real Urban Wastewater under a Pharmaceutical Compounds Shock: Effect of the Operative Variables

1
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
2
Institute of Water Research, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
3
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Oviedo, 33006 Oviedo, Spain
4
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(9), 1785; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091785
Received: 29 July 2019 / Revised: 15 August 2019 / Accepted: 24 August 2019 / Published: 28 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Technologies and Water Treatment)
Numerous studies have analyzed the viability of the biodegradation and removal of different compounds of emerging concern in biological systems for wastewater treatment. However, the effect on the heterotrophic biomass of organic matter removal is sometimes missed. The aim of the present research was to study the effect of the addition of a mix of three pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine, ciprofloxacin, and ibuprofen) on the behavior of the biomass in two different membrane-based biological systems treating urban wastewater. The present research studied a membrane bioreactor (MBR) pilot plant operating at a similar mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) concentration (about 5.5 g/L). This system works as an MBR and is combined with a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR-MBR) to treat real urban wastewater at 6 and 10 h of hydraulic retention time (HRT) under three different shocks of pharmaceuticals with increasing concentrations. In all cases, the organic matter removal was, in average terms, higher than about 92% of biochemical oxygen demand on the fifth day (BOD5), 79% of chemical oxygen demand (COD), and 85% of total organic carbon (TOC). Nevertheless, the removal is higher in the MBBR-MBR technology under the same HRT and the MLSS is similar. Moreover, the removal increased during the shock of pharmaceutical compounds, especially in the MBR technology. From a kinetic perspective, MBBR-MBR is more suitable for low HRT (6 h) and MBR is more effective for high HRT (10 h). This could be due to the fact that biofilm systems are less sensitive to hostile environments than the MBR systems. The removal of N-NH4+ decreased considerably when the pharmaceutical compounds mix was introduced into the system until no removal was detected in cycle 1, even when biofilm was present. View Full-Text
Keywords: heterotrophic kinetics; membrane bioreactor; nitrogen; pharmaceutical shock heterotrophic kinetics; membrane bioreactor; nitrogen; pharmaceutical shock
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Monteoliva-García, A.; Leyva-Díaz, J.C.; López-López, C.; Poyatos, J.M.; Muñío, M.M.; Martín-Pascual, J. Heterotrophic Kinetic Study and Nitrogen Removal of a Membrane Bioreactor System Treating Real Urban Wastewater under a Pharmaceutical Compounds Shock: Effect of the Operative Variables. Water 2019, 11, 1785.

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