A deployable decentralized biofilm system for degrading organic carbon and benzene in wastewater

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A fixed biofilm system was explored for decentralized wastewater treatment utilizing laboratory cultivated microorganisms including Gordonia sp. The system is deployable in a 40-ft ISO container/trailer or on a C-130 aircraft. Experimental results indicated that pre-addition of raw wastewater to the microbial culture before inoculation resulted in a significantly higher BOD5 degradation (77 ± 2% in 24 h) than the consortium alone (58 ± 10%) during the startup of the system. After the pilot system was in semi-continuous operation with an average flow rate of 13.2 L/min, the removal efficiency of BOD5 and total suspended solids (TSS) was 83 ± 9 and 84 ± 9, respectively. As an important supplement to the pilot studies, laboratorial tests by headspace analysis showed that the Gordonia sp. were able to degrade benzene in water. More significant biodegradation of benzene was found in sessile form (57 ± 8%) than in planktonic form (25 ± 11%) with minimal glucose in 26 h. However, no benzene degradation was found in sessile form when no glucose was supplied. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 505–511, 2013