Aquatic environment

Performance and microbial diversity of an expanded granular sludge bed reactor for high sulfate and nitrate waste brine treatment

Runhua Liao , Yan Li , Xuemin Yu , Peng Shi , Zhu Wang , Ke Shen , Qianqian Shi , Yu Miao , Wentao Li , Aimin Li


Received May 17, 2013,Revised August 29, 2013, Accepted , Available online March 24, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 717-725

The disposal of waste brines has become a major challenge that hinders the wide application of ion-exchange resins in the water industry in recent decades. In this study, high sulfate removal efficiency (80%-90%) was achieved at the influent sulfate concentration of 3600 mg/L and 3% NaCl after 145 days in an expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactor. Furthermore, the feasibility of treating synthetic waste brine containing high levels of sulfate and nitrate was investigated in a single EGSB reactor during an operation period of 261 days. The highest nitrate and sulfate loading rate reached 6.38 and 5.78 kg/(m3·day) at SO42--S/NO3--N mass ratio of 4/3, and the corresponding removal efficiency was 99.97% and 82.26% at 3% NaCl, respectively. Meanwhile, 454-pyrosequencing technology was used to analyze the bacterial diversity of the sludge on the 240th day for stable operation of phase X. Results showed that a total of 9194 sequences were obtained, which could be affiliated to 14 phyla, including Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, iChlorobi, Bacteroidetes, Synergistetes and so on. Proteobacteria (77.66%) was the dominant microbial population, followed by Firmicutes (12.23%) and Chlorobi (2.71%).

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