BOM removal by biofiltration- Developing a quantitative basis for comparison
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Biological filtration (Biofiltration) processes have been used first in Europe and then in North America for decades, however currently there is not a good overall parameter to guide biofiltration design and operation except adopting parameters from traditional particle- removal filtration process. On the basis of the biofilm model developed by Rittmann and McCarty (1980a) and the pseudo-analytical solution for the model, Zhang and Huck (1996a) obtained an analytical solution for PF (plug flow) reactors (which can be used for biofilters approximately) after demonstrating that axial dispersion could be reasonably ignored and developed a new parameter, X*, which incorporates considerations of physical contact time, filter media particle size, kinetics, etc. A small-scale application on peers’ engineering/research data by Huck (1999) demonstrated it was a better indicator than other parameters for biofiltration performance. By collecting, screening and investigating literature on AOC, BDOC and odorous compounds removal by biofiltration process, this thesis applied the X* concept to the collected investigations to assess process performances among different target parameters, different filters and different investigations. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first such attempted comprehensive comparison of literature studies, interpreted in terms of a common parameter (X*). The wide ranges of particle sizes, EBCTs, temperatures and high diversity of pre-treatment and operation conditions for the collected cases were considered to be able to well represent biofiltration practices for studied removal targets. No significant relationship between EBCTs and removal percentages were found, indicating that EBCT alone is not able to guide biofiltration design and operation. Based on kinetics parameter comparison, BDOC removal-X* relationship was established. A new parameter, θα, was developed in this thesis to refer to estimated X* values only considering EBCT and particle size. θα parameter values were estimated by comparison of ratios of θα products ((θα)’) based on the properly chosen calculation bases. Distribution of the θα values for temperature-favored (i.e. temperature ≥15°C) AOC and BDOC removal biofiltration processes matched the established removal-X* relationship reasonably. Given the exploratory nature of this research and the complexity of attempting quantitations, fits were assessed based on visual comparison. With the assistance of supporting information and by adopting available temperature activity coefficients, temperature-adjustment coefficients for θα values were determined for the different temperature ranges. Temperature-adjusted AOC and BDOC removal-θα relationships were developed and temperature-adjusted θα parameter values for AOC and BDOC removal were also estimated. Comparisons were conducted, showing fair matches based on visual examinations, for most of the temperature ranges. No relationships were found between ozone dosages and AOC/BDOC removal percentages and the statistical analysis indicated there was significant difference of removal efficiencies between ozonated and non-ozonated influents for biofilters, suggesting ozonation may not only increase the amount of BOM for following biofilter and increase the biodegradability of bulk water; it may also increase the biodegradability of AOC and BDOC themselves. It may not be realistic to obtain the estimated θα values for MIB and geosmin removal by biofiltration. However, plotting θα product vs. removal percentage for the collected MIB and geosmin removal cases shows more positive co-relationships than EBCT-removal percentage relationships visually. A utilization factor η was proposed to guide biofilter design and operation and to assess “over-design” and “under-operated”. Biofilter over-design or under-operated is common for the collected cases. In general, examining X* (or θα, a parameter incorporating the physical components of X*) provided useful information in terms of evaluation and prediction of biodegradable organic compounds removal by biofiltration, which confirms that X* is a better parameter for biofiltration design and operation than other parameters, such as EBCT.