Kinetics of aerobic oxidation of volatile sulfur compounds in wastewater and biofilm from sewers

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Laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the kinetics of aerobic chemical and biological oxidation of selected odorous volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) by wastewater and biofilm from sewers. The VSCs included methyl mercaptan (MeSH), ethyl mercaptan (EtSH), dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and total inorganic sulfide, which have all been reported as the main constituents of foul sewer gas. Samples of wastewater and biofilm for the experiments were obtained from two locations that differed significantly with respect to the occurrence of VSCs. One location represented an odor hot-spot downstream of a force main and the other was a gravity sewer transporting young aerobic wastewater. The kinetics of VSC oxidation for both wastewater and suspended biofilm samples followed a first-order rate equation. The average values of the reaction rate constants demonstrated the following order of reactivity: total inorganic sulfide > EtSH ≥ MeSH >> DMS. Except for total inorganic sulfide oxidation in wastewater, kinetic parameters for each VSC were of similar magnitude for the two locations. In the wastewater from the odor hot-spot, sulfide inorganic oxidation rates were approximately 12 times faster than in the aerobic wastewater.

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