Aquatic environment

Elucidating the removal mechanism of N,N-dimethyldithiocarbamate in an anaerobic-anoxic-oxic activated sludge system

Yongmei Li , Xianzhong Cao , Lin Wang


Received April 07, 2013,Revised June 28, 2013, Accepted , Available online March 04, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 566-574

N,N-Dimethyldithiocarbamate (DMDTC) is a typical precursor of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Based on separate hydrolysis, sorption and biodegradation studies of DMDTC, a laboratory-scale anaerobic-anoxic-oxic (AAO) system was established to investigate the removal mechanism of DMDTC in this nutrient removal biological treatment system. DMDTC hydrolyzed easily in water solution under either acidic conditions or strong alkaline conditions, and dimethylamine (DMA) was the main hydrolysate. Under anaerobic, anoxic or oxic conditions, DMDTC was biodegraded and completely mineralized. Furthermore, DMA was the main intermediate in DMDTC biodegradation. In the AAO system, the optimal conditions for both nutrient and DMDTC removal were hydraulic retention time 8 hr, sludge retention time 20 day, mixed-liquor return ratio 3:1 and sludge return ratio 1:1. Under these conditions, the removal efficiency of DMDTC reached 99.5%; the removal efficiencies of chemical organic demand, ammonium nitrogen, total nitrogen and total phosphorus were 90%, 98%, 81% and 93%, respectively. Biodegradation is the dominant mechanism for DMDTC removal in the AAO system, which was elucidated as consisting of two steps: first, DMDTC is transformed to DMA in the anaerobic and anoxic units, and then DMA is mineralized to CO2 and NH3 in the anoxic and oxic units. The mineralization of DMDTC in the biological treatment system can effectively avoid the formation of NDMA during subsequent disinfection processes.

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