Enhancement of the biodegradability of grain distillery wastewater to improve upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor efficiency
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The distillery industry generates large volumes of heavily polluted wastewater and thus effective wastewater treatment is essential. It has been reported that a chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction of more than 90% can be achieved when wine distillery wastewater (WDWW) is treated in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor. The first objective of this study was to investigate UASB treatment of WDWW and to try to enhance the efficiency by using ozonation treatments. Secondly, the impact of grain distillery wastewater (GDWW) on UASB granules was determined. The third objective was to determine whether ozonation and enzymatic treatment combinations might improve the biodegradability of GDWW and thus make GDWW more amenable to UASB treatment. It was found that UASB treatment combined with ozonation improved the WDWW treatment efficiency. When diluted WDWW (chemical oxygen demand COD = 4 000 mg.L-1) was ozonated (dose = 47 mg.L-1) in a 50 L venturi circulating contactor system, the COD reduction was 7%. When WDWW was treated in a laboratory-scale UASB reactor (substrate pH = 7.0, COD = 4 000 mg.L-1 and organic loading rate (OLR) = 4.0 kg COD.m-3.d-1), the COD reduction was 92%. When the UASB treatment was combined with either pre- or postozonation, the COD reduction was 94 and 96%, respectively. When UASB treatment was combined with pre- and post-ozonation, a COD reduction of 98% was achieved. The activity of the UASB granules was also found to improve over time, despite the addition of the ozonation treatment. It has been reported that operational problems occur when GDWW is treated in an UASB reactor as a result of the encapsulation of the granules. This was confirmed when granules from a full-scale UASB treating WDWW became encapsulated in a layer after being exposed to GDWW (COD = 4 000 mg.L-1) for 24 d. The results showed that the lipid content of the granules increased from 1.25 to 60.35 mg lipid.g-1 granule over the 24 d exposure period. Therefore, granules exposed to GDWW were encapsulated in a lipid-rich layer and as a result the contact between the GDWW and microbial consortium in the granules was reduced. The operational problems found during the industrial UASB treatment of GDWW were ascribed to the encapsulation of the granules. Combinations of ozonation (dose = 1 476 mg.L-1) generated in a 2 L bubble column and enzymatic treatments (1% FogFreeTM (FF) dosage and 2 d incubation at 35°C) were found to improve the biodegradability of GDWW. This improvement was in terms of lipid reduction in GDWW, granule activity and visual appearance of the encapsulating layer of the granules. The highest lipid reduction (90%), highest granule activity, lowest lipid content of the granules (3.74 ± 0.10 mg.g-1 granule) and best visual appearance were achieved in ozonated GDWW treated with 1% FF, followed by just ozonation. The higher lipid reduction and subsequent higher granule activity were ascribed to the reduction in lipids which resulted in the fact that fewer lipids were available to encapsulate the granules. As a result of the lipid reduction, the granule activity improved and the GDWW was made more amenable to UASB treatment. This study proved that UASB treatment combined with ozonation led to an enhancement of the treatment efficiency of WDWW. It was also found that the cause of the operational problems during UASB treatment of GDWW was as a result of the granules being encapsulated in a lipid-rich layer. It was established that treating GDWW prior to UASB treatment improved the biodegradability of GDWW. The data from the study showed that high lipid reduction in the GDWW directly led to better granule activity, lower granule lipid content and a thinner encapsulating layer. Based on the data from this study, it is recommended that GDWW be ozonated prior to other treatments because it can be done inline and the costs would be lower than that of enzymatic treatments.
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