PRD Tech, Inc.

Studies on Biofiltration of Contaminant Mixtures

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Most gaseous emissions from waste water treatment plants, industrial operations, and solids handling facilities, consist of contaminant mixtures rather than pure chemicals. In the literature, several studies have been conducted on biological treatment of gaseous emissions using either naturally bioactive media (soil, peat, compost, etc.) in biofilters or synthetic support media in biotrickling filters. Generally, these studies have relied on single contaminants. However, previous studies, conducted by the author, on biodegradation of mixtures in liquid phase, has shown that biodegradation rates for mixtures are quite different than single contaminants, mainly due to either synergistic or antagonist relationships between the main bacterial species responsible for the degradation of the various compounds.

In this paper, a systematic study was initiated to understand biodegradation of gaseous contaminant mixtures in biotrickling filters and develop theoretical models that would provide avenues for extending pure compound studies to compound mixtures. This understanding is very important since there are hundreds of gaseous contaminants which can constitute million sof gaseous contaminant mixtures, and it is impossible to experimentally determine the biotreatment kinetics of every possible mixture combination. Results of the theoretical and experimental studies have been presented in this paper.

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