Treatment of High Strength Distillery Wastewater (Cherry Stillage) by Integrated Aerobic Biological Oxidation and Ozonation



The performance of integrated aerobic digestion and ozonation for the treatment of high strength distillery wastewater (i.e., cherry stillage) is reported. Experiments were conducted in laboratory batch systems operating in draw and fill mode. For the biological step, activated sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment facility was used as inoculum, showing a high degree of activity to distillery wastewater. Thus, BOD and COD overall conversions of 95% and 82% were achieved, respectively. However, polyphenol content and absorbance at 254 nm (A254) could not be reduced more than 35% and 15%, respectively, by means of single biological oxidation. By considering COD as substrate, the aerobic digestion process followed a Contois' model kinetics, from which the maximum specific growth rate of microorganisms (μmax) and the inhibition factor, β, were then evaluated at different conditions of temperature and pH. In the combined process, the effect of a post-ozonation stage was studied. The main goals achieved by the ozonation step were the removal of polyphenols and A254. Therefore, ozonation was shown to be an appropriate technology to aid aerobic biological oxidation in the treatment of cherry stillage.