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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
APHA, AWWA, & WEF. (1992). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (18th ed.). Washington: American Public Health Association.
Bowen, W. P., & Jerman, J. C. (1995). Nonlinear regression using spreadsheets. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 16, 413–417.
Brown, A. M. (2001). A step-by-step guide to non-linear regression analysis of experimental data using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 65, 191–200.
Brown, A. M. (2006). A non-linear regression analysis program for describing electrophysiological data with multiple functions using Microsoft Excel. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 82, 51–57.
Ceronio, A. D., & Haarhoff, J. (2005). An improvement on the power law for the description of the particle size distributions in potable water treatment. Water Research, 39, 305–313.
Chavez, A., Jiménez, B., & Maya, C. (2004). Particle size distribution as a useful tool for microbial detection. Water Science and Technology, 50, 179–186.
Chavez, A., Maya, C., & Jiménez, B. (2006). Particle size distribution to design and operate an APT process for agricultural wastewater reuse. Water Science and Technology, 53, 43–49.
Choi, S., Kim, S., Yoon, J., Ahn, K., & Lee, S. (2003). Particle behaviour in air agitation submerged membrane filtration. Desalination, 158, 181–188.
Dulekgurgen, E., Dogruel, S., Karaham, Ö., & Orhon, D. (2006). Size distribution of wastewater COD fractions as an index for biodegradability. Water Research, 40, 273–282.
Hontoria, E., Zamorano, M., Gómez, M. A., & González, J. (1995). Tratamiento de aguas residuales, Procesos sumergidos de biopelícula. Tecnoambiente, 47, 31–33.
Kaminski, I., Vescan, V., & Adin, A. (1997). Particle size distribution and wastewater filter performance. Water Science and Technology, 36, 217–224.
Karaham, Ö., Dogruel, S., Dulekgurgen, E., & Orhon, D. (2008). COD fractionation of tannery wastewaters-Particle size distribution, biodegradability and modeling. Water Research, 42, 1083–1092.
Landa, H., Capella, A., & Jiménez, B. (1997). Particle size distribution in an efluent from an advanced primary treatment and its removal during filtration. Water Science and Technology, 36, 159–165.
Lawler, D. F. (1997). Particle size distribution in treatment processes: theory and practice. Water Science and Technology, 36, 15–23.
Levine, A. D., Tchobanoglous, G., & Asano, T. (1991). Size distribution of particulate contaminants in wastewater and their impact on treatability. Water Research, 25, 911–922.
Mahmoud, N., Zeeman, G., Gijzen, H., & Lettinga, G. (2003). Solids removal in upflow anaerobic reactors, a review. Bioresource Technology, 90, 1–9.
Market, R., Muhammad, N., Vairavamoorthy, K., & Wheatley, A. (2007). Particle size distribution to assess the performance of trickling filters. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 85, 99–103.
Marquet, R., Mietton-Peuchot, M., & Wheatley, A. D. (1999). Characterisation of trickling filter effluent by particle size distribution and high performance size exclusion chromatography. Water Research, 33, 1415–1424.
Martínez, S. A., Denis, C. M., & González, J. (2008). Simultaneous oxygen and carbon variation within an RBC biofilm as function of different operating conditions. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 48, 1270–1276.
Neis, U., & Tiehm, A. (1997). Particle size analysis in primary and secondary waste water effluents. Water Science and Technology, 36, 151–158.
Poyatos, J. M., Molina-Muñoz, M., Moreno, B., Gonzalez-Lopez, J., & Hontoria, E. (2007). Effect of the mixed liquor suspended solid on permeate in a membrane bioreactor system applied for the treatment of sewage mixed with wastewater of the milk from the dairy industry. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering, 42, 1005–1012.
Sophonsiri, C., & Morgenroth, E. (2004). Chemical composition associated with different particle size fractions in municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewaters. Chemosphere, 55, 691–703.
Tiehm, A., Herwig, V., & Neis, U. (1999). Particle size analysis for improved sedimentation and filtration in waste water treatment. Water Science and Technology, 39, 99–106.
Van der Graaf, J. H. J. M., de Koning, J., & Tang, J. (2001). Particle size analysis as a tool for performance measurements in high rate effluent filtration. Water Science and Technology, 43, 303–310.
Zamorano, M., & Hontoria, E. (2001). Depuración de aguas con filtros inundados. Utilización de nuevos materiales. Ingeniería del agua, 8, 219–227.
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.
Juan José García-Mesa and José M. Poyatos have contributed equally to this work.
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Biofilm treatment
- Ternary treatment
- Water reuse