This study describes a novel wastewater treatment technology suitable for small remote northern communities. The technology is based on an enhanced biodegradation of organic carbon through a combination of anaerobic methanogenic and microbial electrochemical (bioelectrochemical) degradation processes leading to biomethane production. The microbial electrochemical degradation is achieved in a membraneless flow-through bioanode-biocathode setup operating at an applied voltage below the water electrolysis threshold. Laboratory wastewater treatment tests conducted through a broad range of mesophilic and psychrophilic temperatures (5-23 °C) using synthetic wastewater showed a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) removal efficiency of 90-97% and an effluent BOD5 concentration as low as 7 mg L-1. An electricity consumption of 0.6 kWh kg-1 of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removed was observed. Low energy consumption coupled with enhanced methane production led to a net positive energy balance in the bioelectrochemical treatment system.
High-throughput amplicon sequencing of six biomass samples from a full-scale anaerobic reactor at a Norwegian wood and pulp factory using Biothane Biobed Expanded Granular Sludge Bed (EGSB) technology during start-up and first year of operation was performed. A total of 106,166 16S rRNA gene sequences (V3-V5 region) were obtained. The number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) ranged from 595 to 2472, and a total of 38 different phyla and 143 families were observed. The predominant phyla were Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes. A more diverse microbial community was observed in the inoculum biomass coming from an Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (USAB) reactor, reflecting an adaptation of the inoculum diversity to the specific conditions of the new reactor. In addition, no taxa classified as obligate pathogens were identified and potentially opportunistic pathogens were absent or observed in low abundances. No Legionella bacteria were identified by traditional culture-based and molecular methods.
The anaerobic digestion process is often inhibited by alteration of substrates and/or organic overload. This study aimed to elucidate changes of microbial ecology in biogas reactors upon radical changes of substrates and to determine their importance to process imbalance. For this reason, continuously fed reactors were disturbed with pulses of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates and the microbial ecology of the reactors were characterized by 16S rRNA gene sequencing before and after the imposed changes. The microbial composition of the three reactors, initially similar, diverged greatly after substrate change. The greatest increase in diversity was observed in the reactor supplemented with carbohydrates and the microbial community became dominated by lactobacilli, while the lowest corresponded to the reactor overfed with proteins, where only Desulfotomaculum showed significant increase. The overall results suggest that feed composition has a decisive impact on the microbial composition of the reactors, and thereby on their performance.
Seven full-scale biological wastewater treatment systems located in the Polar Arctic Circle region in Finland were investigated to determine their Archaea, Bacteria and Fungi community structure, and their relationship with the operational conditions of the bioreactors by the means of quantitative PCR, massive parallel sequencing and multivariate redundancy analysis. The results showed dominance of Archaea and Bacteria members in the bioreactors. The activated sludge systems showed strong selection of Bacteria but not for Archaea and Fungi, as suggested by diversity analyses. Core OTUs in influent and bioreactors were classified as Methanobrevibacter, Methanosarcina, Terrestrial Group Thaumarchaeota and unclassified Euryarchaeota member for Archaea; Trichococcus, Leptotrichiaceae and Comamonadaceae family, and Methylorosula for Bacteria and Trichosporonaceae family for Fungi. All influents shared core OTUs in all domains, but in bioreactors this did not occur for Bacteria. Oligotype structure of core OTUs showed several ubiquitous Fungi oligotypes as dominant in sewage and bioreactors. Multivariate redundancy analyses showed that the majority of core OTUs were related to organic matter and nutrients removal. Also, there was evidence of competition among Archaea and Fungi core OTUs, while all Bacteria OTUs were positively correlated among them. The results obtained highlighted interesting features of extremely cold temperature bioreactors.
Institut national de la recherche scientifique (Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement), Université du Québec, 490 rue de la Couronne, Québec, QC G1K 9A9, Canada. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Mine drainage contaminated with metals is a major environmental threat since it is a source of water pollution with devastating effects on aquatic ecosystems. Conventional active treatment technologies are prohibitively expensive and so there is increasing demand to develop reliable, cost-effective and sustainable passive or semi-passive treatment. These are promising alternatives since they leverage the metabolism of microorganisms native to the disturbed site at in situ or close to in situ conditions. Since this is a biological approach, it is not clear if semi-passive treatment would be effective in remote locations with extremely cold weather such as at mines in the subarctic. In this study we tested the hypothesis that sulfate-reducing bacteria, which are microorganisms that promote metal precipitation, exist in subarctic mine environments and their activity can be stimulated by adding a readily available carbon source. An experiment was setup at a closed mine in the Yukon Territory, Canada, where leaching of Zn and Cd occurs. To test if semi-passive treatment could precipitate these metals and prevent further leaching from waste rock, molasses as a carbon source was added to anaerobic bioreactors mimicking the belowground in-situ conditions. Microbial community analysis confirmed that sulfate-reducing bacteria became enriched in the bioreactors upon addition of molasses. The population composition remained fairly stable over the 14 month operating period despite temperature shifts from 17 to 5?°C. Sulfate reduction functionality was confirmed by quantification of the gene for dissimilatory sulfite reductase. Metals were removed from underground mine drainage fed into the bioreactors with Zn removal efficiency varying between 20.9% in winter and 89.3% in summer, and Cd removal efficiency between 39% in winter and 90.5% in summer. This study demonstrated that stimulation of native SRB in MIW was possible and that in situ semi-passive treatment can be effective in removing metals despite the cold climate.
The quality of raw water is getting worse in developing countries because of the inadequate treatment of municipal sewage, industrial wastewater and agricultural runoff. Aiming at the biofilm enrichment and pollutant removal, two pilot-scale biofilm reactors were built with different biological carriers. Results showed that compared with the blank carrier, the biofilm was easily enriched on the biofilm precoated carrier and less nitrite accumulation occurred. The removal efficiencies of NH4(+)-N, DOC and UV254 increased under the aeration condition, and a optimum DO level for the adequate nitrification was 1.0-2.6mgL(-1) with the suitable temperature range of 21-22°C. Study on the trihalomethane prediction model indicated that the presentence of algae increased the risk of disinfection by-products production, which could be effectively controlled via manual algae removing and light shading. In this study, the performance of biofilm pretreatment process could be enhanced under the optimized condition of DO level and biofilm carrier.