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The Influence of Biofilm Treatment Systems on Particle Size Distribution in Three Wastewater Treatment Plants


This article presents the results of a research study that analyzed the effect that secondary biofilm treatment systems had on particle size distribution (PSD) in the effluent of wastewater treatment plants. This study focused on three biofilm technologies (i.e. a submerged biofilter system, a trickling filter system, and a rotating biological contactor system) in three working urban wastewater treatment plants. For this purpose, the variation of the fit parameters was analyzed after modeling the PSD with the power law. The greatest reduction in particle number was obtained with the submerged biofilter system, followed by the trickling filter system. In contrast, the rotating biological contactor showed the smallest reduction in particle number under the conditions of our study. It was also found that the variation of the fit parameters of the PSD, caused by the wastewater treatments was related to other wastewater parameters, such as the chemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, and the mean particle size. This showed a direct relation between these parameters and the particles in wastewater.

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This research was funded by the Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir (Ministry of the Environment, Spain). It was also made possible, thanks to the participation of the companies and local administrations (Emabesa, City of Beas de Granada, and Galasa) who manage the wastewater treatment plants, and who authorized the collection of samples.

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Correspondence to José M. Poyatos.

Additional information

Juan José García-Mesa and José M. Poyatos have contributed equally to this work.

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García-Mesa, J.J., Poyatos, J.M., Delgado, F. et al. The Influence of Biofilm Treatment Systems on Particle Size Distribution in Three Wastewater Treatment Plants. Water Air Soil Pollut 212, 37–49 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-009-0320-5

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  • Wastewater
  • PSD
  • Biofilm treatment
  • Ternary treatment
  • Water reuse