Biological leachate treatment using anaerobic/aerobic process: suspended growth-activated sludge versus aerobic granular sludge
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Landfill leachate treatment was investigated using two anaerobic/aerobic sequencing batch reactors inoculated with suspended growth-activated sludge (ASBR) and aerobic granular sludge (GSBR). The total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) concentration in the GSBR influent was as high as 1200 mg/L with an average TAN removal efficiency of 99.7%. However, the ASBR treatment did not show a consistent performance in TAN removal. The TAN removal efficiency decreased with increasing ammonium concentration in the influent. Aerobic granular sludge was found to be more resistant to free ammonia (FA). In the GSBR, nitrification was partially inhibited at FA concentration from 48 to 57 mg/L, which was two times more than the FA concentration that inhibited nitrification in the ASBR. Low chemical oxygen demand removal efficiencies were obtained in both reactors, which was associated with the refractory organic content of the leachate used in this study. This resulted in poor phosphorous removal in both treatments. The results prove that aerobic granular sludge is a robust method as compared to suspended-activated sludge to treat leachate containing high levels of TAN and FA.
KeywordsAerobic granular sludge Floccular-activated sludge Landfill leachate treatment Ammonium removal Free ammonia inhibition
This research is financially supported by National Science and Engineering Research Council (Grant No. RGPIN-2014-05510). The authors would like to thank CNPq-Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Grant No. 203208/2014-5) for a postdoctoral scholarship.
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