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Sand Bioreactors for Treatment of High Salt Content Wastewater

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800047.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800047)
Authors:   Kristen M Conroy, Feng Chen, Olli H. Tuovinen, Karen M. Mancl
Keywords:   Ammonia removal, clogging, high salt content wastewater, organic matter removal, sand bioreactor


The treatment of high salt (>1% NaCl) wastewater is an issue in several food industries, including meat curing, vegetable pickling and fish processing. Novel solutions involving biological treatment of saline wastewaters are increasingly important as companies strive to minimize waste production. Sand bioreactors are a secondary treatment option that does not produce secondary sludge. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of treating high salt content poultry processing wastewater with sand bioreactors. Laboratory-scale sand bioreactors consisted of three layers composed of 15 cm of gravel, 15 cm of coarse sand and 46 cm of fine sand. The columns were dose fed at 4cm/day turkey processing wastewater with 0, 6, and 13 grams added NaCl per liter. Removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and ammonia were monitored over a one year period. Each bioreactor successfully removed >90% COD and ammonia during steady state after 4-5 week of acclimation. Clogging caused a decrease in treatment in some sand bioreactors after 6-7 months, but was alleviated with resting.

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