Regular Articles

A comprehensive evaluation of re-circulated bio-filter as a pretreatment process for petroleum refinery wastewater

Xiaoli Dai , Chunmao Chen , Guangxu Yan , Yu Chen , Shaohui Guo


Received January 22, 2016,Revised May 12, 2016, Accepted May 16, 2016, Available online June 28, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 49-55

Conventional biological treatment process is not very efficient for the treatment of petroleum refinery wastewater (PRW) that contains high-concentration of organic contaminants. Prior to biological treatment, an additional pretreatment process for PRW is required for the effluent to meet the discharge standards. While re-circulated bio-filter (RBF) has been applied as a pretreatment process in several PRW treatment plants, its effects have not been comprehensively evaluated. In this study, the parameters of operation, the changes in pollution indexes and contaminant composition in an engineered RBF have been investigated. We found that mainly highly active de-carbonization bacteria were present in the RBF, while no nitrification bacteria were found in the RBF. This indicated the absence of nitrification in this process. The biodegradable organic contaminants were susceptible to degradation by RBF, which decreased the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD5) by 83.64% and the Chemical Oxygen Demand (CODCr) by 54.63%. Consequently, the alkalinity and pH value of RBF effluent significantly increased, which was unfavorable for the control of operating parameters in subsequent biological treatment. Along with the decrease of CODCr, the RBF effluent exhibited a reduction in biodegradability. 834 kinds of recalcitrant polar organic contaminants remained in the effluent; most of the contaminant molecules having complex structures of aromatic, polycyclic and heterocyclic rings. The results of this study showed that RBF could efficiently treat PRW for biodegradable organic contaminants removal; however, it is difficult to treat bio-refractory organic contaminants, which was unfavorable for the subsequent biological treatment process operation. An improved process might provide overall guarantees for the PRW treatment.

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