University of Tehran

Effect of organic loading on the performance of aerated submerged fixed-film reactor (asffr) for crude oil-containing wastewater treatment

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A large amount of water is used in oil industry for a wide variety of purposes and basic portion of it leaves this industry as wastewater containing oil, phenols, different solvents, and toxic substances  (Zhao, et al., 2006; Toril, 2001). Such wastewater can pollute water bodies, soil, and even the air if it is not treated (Yang, 2000; Chen, 2002; Vegueria, 2002). Biological treatment processes are economical and efficient methods that can be used for treating wastewater from oil industry (Jou, 2003). In many refineries, suspended growth systems, such as conventional activated sludge (CAS) process, are applied to treat refinery wastewater (Tellez, 2002; Stepnowski, 2002). However, CAS process has some operational problems, such as the inability to settle the sludge, formation of excessive scum and foam, and sludge bulking, and requires operators’ skill and large space which are considered as the limiting factors in oil industries because these are located in  populous areas without enough space for  expansion (Park, 1996; Loukidou, 2001; Xianling, 2005). Therefore, it is important that biological treatment systems can be easy to operate and treat large amounts of wastewater in a space which is as small as possible (Park, 1996; Xianling, 2005). As a consequence, some novel biological treatment methods have been developed during recent years. Attached growth bioreactors such as trickling filters and rotating biological contactors have been used for treatment of wastewaters for over a century. However, during the past two decades new versions of attached growth bioreactors that apply totally submerged media with high specific surface areas have been developed. These systems are known as submerged attached growth bioreactors (SAGB). Currently, submerged attached growth systems have attracted attention due to the high biomass concentrations that can be gained, leading to short hydraulic residence times (HRTs). Short HRTs cause these systems to be compactly constructed (Leslie Grady et al., 1999). In comparison to suspended growth biological treatment systems, such as CAS process, this system can provide advantages as follows (Park, 1996; Hamoda, 1999; Jianlong et al., 2000; Loukidou, 2001; Jou, 2003; Guimarães et al., 2005):

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