Respirometry study about the olive oil effects in the activated sludge process case study

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Courtesy of SURCIS, S.L.

The problem of Oils in the Activated Sludge Process

In many activated sludge plants excessive oils discharges can give rise to Nocardia foaming which causes major operational problems. While the bulk of the oils are removed in Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) units or grease interceptors the remainder must be treated in the wastewater treatment system. But however, in case of high concentration, this remainder oils can create important problems on the normal operation of the activated sludge process.

The plant of the study do not reach the have an important high olive mill wastewater which, besides a high organic it can contain an important amount of polyphenol. However there is an important bulk of oil in the influent, the DAF looks not to be enough efficient and the remainder oil is sufficient to create problems.

In this plant, the oils presence is not only creating Nocardia foaming but also making its influence in the COD fractions, where the readily biodegradable fraction could not be actually considered as easily biodegradable.

As well, in this specific activated sludge process, the low readily biodegradable COD fraction, together with its low biodegradability, is maintaining a serious repercussion in the C/N/P nutrients ratio.

In this study the effects of the olive oil in the activated sludge process are analyzed by making use of the BM-T multifunction respirometer from SURCIS, S.L. (Spain) and its powerful software to obtain the different COD biodegradable fractions, overlaying Respirograms and determining the actual COD uptake rate.

From the Respirometry study it was demonstrated that the presence of the Oils in the activated sludge process is seriously affecting the COD fractioning, Biodegradability and COD removal rate.

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