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Gaseous CAH removal by biofiltration in presence and absence of a nonionic surfactant


The objectives of this study were to investigate the biodegradation of gaseous trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in an activated carbon biofilter inoculated with phenol-oxidizing microorganisms and to study the effect of surfactant concentration below its critical micelle concentration (CMC) on the removal efficiency of TCE or PCE. For the enhanced biofiltration, a biodegradable nonionic surfactant was added to biofilters. The investigation was conducted using two specially built stainless steel biofilters, one for TCE and the other for PCE.

The removal efficiency of gaseous TCE was 100% at a residence time of 7 min and its average inlet concentration of 85 ppm. For gaseous PCE, 100% removal efficiency was obtained at residence times of 4–7 min and its average concentrations of 47–84 ppm. It was found that adsorption by GAC and absorption by influent nutrient solution were a minor or negligible mechanism for TCE and PCE removal in the activated carbon biofilters. The TCE and PCE activated carbon biofilter performances were observed to be a little enhanced but not significantly, when the surfactant was introduced at concentrations of 5–50 mg/l. Surfactant concentrations of 5–15 mg/l were found to be an optimal dosage in the biofilter operation for avoiding significant residual in the effluent from biofilters.

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Received: 28 October 1997

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Kim, J., TerKonda, P. & Lee, S. Gaseous CAH removal by biofiltration in presence and absence of a nonionic surfactant. Bioprocess Engineering 19, 253–259 (1998).

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