Technical, hygiene, economic, and life cycle assessment of full-scale moving bed biofilm reactors for wastewater treatment in India

Abstract

Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) is a highly effective biological treatment process applied to treat both urban and industrial wastewaters in developing countries. The present study investigated the technical performance of ten full-scale MBBR systems located across India. The biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solid, pathogens, and nutrient removal efficiencies were low as compared to the values claimed in literature. Plant 1 was considered for evaluation of environmental impacts using life cycle assessment approach. CML 2 baseline 2000 methodology was adopted, in which 11 impact categories were considered. The life cycle impact assessment results revealed that the main environmental hot spot of this system was energy consumption. Additionally, two scenarios were compared: scenario 1 (direct discharge of treated effluent, i.e., no reuse) and scenario 2 (effluent reuse and tap water replacement). The results showed that scenario 2 significantly reduce the environmental impact in all the categories ultimately decreasing the environmental burden. Moreover, significant economic and environmental benefits can be obtained in scenario 2 by replacing the freshwater demand for non-potable uses. To enhance the performance of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), there is a need to optimize energy consumption and increase wastewater collection efficiency to maximize the operating capacity of plant and minimize overall environmental footprint. It was concluded that MBBR can be a good alternative for upgrading and optimizing existing municipal wastewater treatment plants with appropriate tertiary treatment.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Adohinzin JB, Xu L (2014) Nutrients removal control via an intermittently aerated membrane bioreactor. World Acad Sci Eng Technol Int J Chem Mol Nuclear Mater Metall Eng 8(6):556–559

    Google Scholar 

  2. Al-Rekabi WS (2015) Mechanisms of nutrient removal in moving bed biofilm reactors. Int J Sci Eng Res 6(1):497–517

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ansari MI, Schiwon K, Malik A, Grohmann E (2012) Environmental Protection Strategies for Sustainable Development. In: Biofilm formation by environmental bacteria. Springer, Netherlands, pp 341–377

    Google Scholar 

  4. Aygun A, Nas B, Berktay A (2008) Influence of high organic loading rates on COD removal and sludge production in moving bed biofilm reactor. Environ Eng Sci 25(9):1311–1316

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Azimi AA, Hooshyari B, Mehrdadi N, Bidhendi GN (2007) Enhanced COD and nutrient removal efficiency in a hybrid integrated fixed film activated sludge process. Iran J Sci Technol 31(B5):523

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Barwal A, Chaudhary R (2014) To study the performance of biocarriers in moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) technology and kinetics of biofilm for retrofitting the existing aerobic treatment systems: a review. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 13(3):285

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bassin JP, Dezotti M, Sant’Anna GL (2011) Nitrification of industrial and domestic saline wastewaters in moving bed biofilm reactor and sequencing batch reactor. J Hazard Mater 185(1):242–248

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bassin JP, Kleerebezem R, Rosado AS, van Loosdrecht MM, Dezotti M (2012) Effect of different operational conditions on biofilm development, nitrification, and nitrifying microbial population in moving-bed biofilm reactors. Environ Sci Technol 46(3):1546–1555

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Beavis P, Lundie S (2003) Integrated environmental assessment of tertiary and residuals treatment—LCA in the wastewater industry. Water Sci Technol 47(7–8):109–116

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Biswas K, Taylor MW, Turner SJ (2014) Successional development of biofilms in moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) systems treating municipal wastewater. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 98(3):1429

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Borkar RP, Gulhane ML, Kotangale AJ (2013) Moving bed biofilm reactor—a new perspective in wastewater treatment. J Environ Sci Toxicol Food Technol 6(6):15–21

    Google Scholar 

  12. Calderon K, Martín-Pascual J, Poyatos JM, Rodelas B, González-Martínez A, González-López J (2012) Comparative analysis of the bacterial diversity in a lab-scale moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) applied to treat urban wastewater under different operational conditions. Bioresour Technol 121:119–126

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Carballa M, Duran C, Hospido A (2011) Should we pretreat solid waste prior to anaerobic digestion? An assessment of its environmental cost. Environ Sci Technol 45(24):10306–10314

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chen S, Sun D, Chung JS (2008) Simultaneous removal of COD and ammonium from landfill leachate using an anaerobic–aerobic moving-bed biofilm reactor system. Waste Manag 28(2):339–346

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Chrispim MC, Nolasco MA (2017) Greywater treatment using a moving bed biofilm reactor at a university campus in Brazil. J Clean Prod 142:290–296

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Corominas L, Larsen HF, Flores-Alsina X, Vanrolleghem PA (2013) Including life cycle assessment for decision-making in controlling wastewater nutrient removal systems. J Environ Manag 128:759–767

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) (2013) Performance evaluation of sewage treatment plants under NRCD, Ministry of Environment and Forest. Available at: http://cpcb.nic.in/upload/NewItems/ NewItem_195_STP_REPORT.pdf

  18. Central Pollution Control Board CPCB (2016) “CPCB bulletin”, Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests. Govt. of India, Delhi

    Google Scholar 

  19. Delnavaz M, Ayati B, Ganjidoust H (2010) Prediction of moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) performance for the treatment of aniline using artificial neural networks (ANN). J Hazard Mater 179(1):769–775

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Deng L, Guo W, Ngo HH, Zhang X, Wang XC, Zhang Q, Chen R (2016) New functional biocarriers for enhancing the performance of a hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor–membrane bioreactor system. Bioresour Technol 208:87–93

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Di Iaconi C, Del Moro G, Bertanza G, Canato M, Laera G, Heimersson S, Svanström M (2017) Upgrading small wastewater treatment plants with the sequencing batch biofilter granular reactor technology: techno-economic and environmental assessment. J Clean Prod 148:606–615

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Di Trapani D, Di Bella G, Mannina G, Torregrossa M, Viviani G (2014) Comparison between moving bed-membrane bioreactor (MB-MBR) and membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems: influence of wastewater salinity variation. Bioresour Technol 162:60–69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Emmerson RHC, Morse GK, Lester JN, Edge DR (1995) The life-cycle analysis of small-scale sewage-treatment processes. Water Environ J 9(3):317–325

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Fang LL, Valverde-Pérez B, Damgaard A, Plósz BG, Rygaard M (2016) Life cycle assessment as development and decision support tool for wastewater resource recovery technology. Water Res 88:538–549

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Federation, W. E., & American Public Health Association (2005) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association (APHA), Washington

    Google Scholar 

  26. Foley J, De Haas D, Hartley K, Lant P (2010) Comprehensive life cycle inventories of alternative wastewater treatment systems. Water Res 44(5):1654–1666

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Galgale AD, Shah NB, Shah NG (2014) Treatment of wastewater containing high concentration of phenol & total dissolved solids in moving bed biofilm reactor. International journal of innovative research in science, engineering and technology, Vol. 3, Issue 4, April 2

  28. Gallego A, Hospido A, Moreira MT, Feijoo G (2008) Environmental performance of wastewater treatment plants for small populations. Resour Conserv Recycl 52(6):931–940

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Gao DW, Wen ZD, Li B, Liang H (2014) Microbial community structure characteristics associated membrane fouling in A/O-MBR system. Bioresour Technol 154:87–93

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Garcia-Montoya M, Sengupta D, Nápoles-Rivera F, Ponce-Ortega JM, El-Halwagi MM (2016) Environmental and economic analysis for the optimal reuse of water in a residential complex. J Clean Prod 130:82–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Garfí M, Flores L, & Ferrer I (2017) Life cycle assessment of wastewater treatment systems for small communities: activated sludge, constructed wetlands and high rate algal ponds. J Clean Prod

  32. Ghayebzadeh M, Sharafi K, Azizi E, Rahmatabadi S, Pirsaheb M (2015) Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from municipal wastewater using intermittent cycle moving bed biofilm reactor (ICMBBR). J Chem Pharm Res 7(6):979–987

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Gourdet C, Girault R, Berthault S, Richard M, Tosoni J, Pradel M (2017) In quest of environmental hotspots of sewage sludge treatment combining anaerobic digestion and mechanical dewatering: a life cycle assessment approach. J Clean Prod 143:1123–1136

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Guo W, Ngo HH, Li J (2012) A mini-review on membrane fouling. Bioresour Technol 122:27–34

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Hauck M, Maalcke-Luesken FA, Jetten MS, Huijbregts MA (2016) Removing nitrogen from wastewater with side stream anammox: what are the trade-offs between environmental impacts? Resour Conserv Recycl 107:212–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Henze M, Harremoes P, la Cour Jansen J, & Arvin E (2001) Wastewater treatment: biological and chemical processes. Springer Science & Business Media

  37. Hernandez-Padilla F, Margni M, Noyola A, Guereca-Hernandez L, Bulle C (2017) Assessing wastewater treatment in Latin America and the Caribbean: enhancing life cycle assessment interpretation by regionalization and impact assessment sensibility. J Clean Prod 142:2140–2153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Hong J, Hong J, Otaki M, Jolliet O (2009) Environmental and economic life cycle assessment for sewage sludge treatment processes in Japan. Waste Manag 29(2):696–703

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Hospido A, Moreira MT, Fernández-Couto M, Feijoo G (2004) Environmental performance of a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Int J Life Cycle Assess 9(4):261–271

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Hospido A, Sanchez I, Rodriguez-Garcia G, Iglesias A, Buntner D, Reif R et al (2012) Are all membrane reactors equal from an environmental point of view? Desalination 285:263–270

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Houillon G, Jolliet O (2005) Life cycle assessment of processes for the treatment of wastewater urban sludge: energy and global warming analysis. J Clean Prod 13(3):287–299

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Huang H, Ren H, Ding L, Geng J, Xu K, Zhang Y (2014) Aging biofilm from a full-scale moving bed biofilm reactor: characterization and enzymatic treatment study. Bioresour Technol 154:122–130

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (2006a) Environmental management. Life cycle assessment: principle and framework. ISO14040:2006. In: International Organization for Standardisation. CH, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  44. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (2006b) Environmental management life cycle assessment: requirements and guidelines. ISO 14044:2006. In: International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). CH, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  45. Ioannou-Ttofa L, Foteinis S, Chatzisymeon E, Fatta-Kassinos D (2016) The environmental footprint of a membrane bioreactor treatment process through life cycle analysis. Sci Total Environ 568:306–318

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Jaroszynski LW, Cicek N, Sparling R, Oleszkiewicz JA (2011) Importance of the operating pH in maintaining the stability of anoxic ammonium oxidation (anammox) activity in moving bed biofilm reactors. Bioresour Technol 102(14):7051–7056

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Kalbar PP, Karmakar S, Asolekar SR (2012) Estimation of environmental footprint of municipal wastewater treatment in India: life cycle approach. In: Proceedings of International Conference on a Environmental Science and Technology (Vol. 30, pp. 30–34)

  48. Kalbar PP, Karmakar S, Asolekar SR (2013) Assessment of wastewater treatment technologies: life cycle approach. Water Environ J 27(2):261–268

  49. Kamble SJ, Chakravarthy Y, Singh A, Chubilleau C, Starkl M, Bawa I (2017) A soil biotechnology system for wastewater treatment: technical, hygiene, environmental LCA and economic aspects. Environ Sci Pollut Res 15(24):13315–13334

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Kermani M, Bina B, Movahedian H, Amin MM, Nikaein M (2008) Application of moving bed biofilm process for biological organics and nutrients removal from municipal wastewater. Am J Environ Sci 4(6):675

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Lassaux S, Renzoni R, Germain A (2007) LCA case studies life cycle assessment of water from the pumping station to the wastewater treatment plant. Water Manag 12(2):118–126

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  52. Le-Clech P, Chen V, Fane TA (2006) Fouling in membrane bioreactors used in wastewater treatment. J Membr Sci 284(1):17–53

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Leyva-Diaz JC, González-Martínez A, González-López J, Muñío MM, Poyatos JM (2015) Kinetic modeling and microbiological study of two-step nitrification in a membrane bioreactor and hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor–membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment. Chem Eng J 259:692–702

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Lundin M, Olofsson M, Pettersson GJ, Zetterlund H (2004) Environmental and economic assessment of sewage sludge handling options. Resour Conserv Recycl 41(4):255–278

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Luostarinen S, Luste S, Valentín L, Rintala J (2006) Nitrogen removal from on-site treated anaerobic effluents using intermittently aerated moving bed biofilm reactors at low temperatures. Water Res 40(8):1607–1615

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Masic A, Bengtsson J, Christensson M (2010) Measuring and modeling the oxygen profile in a nitrifying moving bed biofilm reactor. Math Biosci 227(1):1–11

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Metcalf and Eddy (2003) Wastewater engineering treatment and reuse. McGraw-Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  58. Meng F, Chae SR, Drews A, Kraume M, Shin HS, Yang F (2009) Recent advances in membrane bioreactors (MBRs): membrane fouling and membrane material. Water Res 43(6):1489–1512

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Murray, A., Horvath, A., & Nelson, K. L. (2008). Hybrid life-cycle environmental and cost inventory of sewage sludge treatment and end-use scenarios: a case study from China

    Google Scholar 

  60. Nakakubo T, Tokai A, Ohno K (2012) Comparative assessment of technological systems for recycling sludge and food waste aimed at greenhouse gas emissions reduction and phosphorus recovery. J Clean Prod 32:157–172

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Ng BJ, Zhou J, Giannis A, Chang VWC, Wang JY (2014) Environmental life cycle assessment of different domestic wastewater streams: policy effectiveness in a tropical urban environment. J Environ Manag 140:60–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Nogueira R, Brito AG, Machado AP, Janknecht P, Salas JJ, Vera L, Martel G (2009) Economic and environmental assessment of small and decentralized wastewater treatment systems. Desalin Water Treat 4(1–3):16–21

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Odegaard H, Rusten B, Westrum T (1994) A new moving bed biofilm reactor-applications and results. Water Sci Technol 29(10–11):157–165

    Google Scholar 

  64. Odegaard H (1999) The moving bed biofilm reactor. Water environmental engineering and reuse of water 575314:205–305

    Google Scholar 

  65. Ontiveros GA, Campanella EA (2013) Environmental performance of biological nutrient removal processes from a life cycle perspective. Bioresour Technol 150:506–512

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Ortiz O, Pasqualino JC, Castells F (2010) Environmental performance of construction waste: comparing three scenarios from a case study in Catalonia, Spain. Waste Manag 30(4):646–654

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Pastorelli G, Canziani R, Pedrazzi L, Rozzi A (1999) Phosphorus and nitrogen removal in moving-bed sequencing batch biofilm reactors. Water Sci Technol 40(4–5):169–176

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  68. Pasqualino JC, Meneses M, Abella M, Castells F (2009) LCA as a decision support tool for the environmental improvement of the operation of a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Environmental science & technology 43(9):3300–3307

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Peters GM, Rowley HV (2009) Environmental comparison of biosolids management systems using life cycle assessment. Environ Sci Technol 43(8):2674–2679

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Pretel R, Robles A, Ruano MV, Seco A, Ferrer J (2016) Economic and environmental sustainability of submerged anaerobic MBR-based (AnMBR-based) technology as compared to aerobic-based technologies for moderate-/high-loaded urban wastewater treatment. J Environ Manag 166:45–54

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Risch E, Gutierrez O, Roux P, Boutin C, Corominas L (2015) Life cycle assessment of urban wastewater systems: quantifying the relative contribution of sewer systems. Water Res 77:35–48

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Rodriguez-Garcia G, Molinos-Senante M, Hospido A, Hernández-Sancho F, Moreira MT, Feijoo G (2011) Environmental and economic profile of six typologies of wastewater treatment plants. Water Res 45(18):5997–6010

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Roeleveld PJ, Klapwijk A, Eggels PG, Rulkens WH, Van Starkenburg W (1997) Sustainability of municipal waste water treatment. Water Sci Technol 35(10):221–228

    Google Scholar 

  74. Rodgers M (1999) Organic carbon removal using a new biofilm reactor. Water Res 33(6):1495–1499

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Rodgers M, Zhan XM, Gallagher B (2003) A pilot plant study using a vertically moving biofilm process to treat municipal wastewater. Bioresour Technol 89(2):139–143

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Sharma P (2015) Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR). International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973–4562 Vol. 10 No.35

  77. Singh NK, Banyal P, Kazmi AA (2016) Techno-economic assessment of full scale MBBRs treating municipal wastewater followed by different tertiary treatment strategies: a case study from India. Nature Environment and Pollution. Technology 15(4):1311

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  78. Tarantini M, Buttol P, Maiorino L (2007) An environmental LCA of alternative scenarios of urban sewage sludge treatment and disposal. Therm Sci 11(3):153–164

    Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Wang XJ, Xia SQ, Chen L, Zhao JF, Renault NJ, Chovelon JM (2006) Nutrients removal from municipal wastewater by chemical precipitation in a moving bed biofilm reactor. Process Biochem 41(4):824–828

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  80. WHO/FAO (2006)

  81. Yang F, Wang Y, Bick A, Gilron J, Brenner A, Gillerman L et al (2012) Performance of different configurations of hybrid growth membrane bioreactor (HG-MBR) for treatment of mixed wastewater. Desalination 284:261–268

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Zhang S, Wang Y, He W, Wu M, Xing M, Yang J et al (2013) Responses of biofilm characteristics to variations in temperature and NH4 +-N loading in a moving-bed biofilm reactor treating micro-polluted raw water. Bioresour Technol 131:365–373

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Zhou J, Chang VWC, Fane AG (2011) Environmental life cycle assessment of reverse osmosis desalination: the influence of different life cycle impact assessment methods on the characterization results. Desalination 283:227–236

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Zhu Y, Zhang Y, Ren HQ, Geng JJ, Xu K, Huang H, Ding LL (2015) Physicochemical characteristics and microbial community evolution of biofilms during the start-up period in a moving bed biofilm reactor. Bioresour Technol 180:345–351

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and the European Union (EU) for providing financial support for the study. The authors would also like to thank the plant management teams of all the plants.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sheetal Jaisingh Kamble.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Singh, A., Kamble, S.J., Sawant, M. et al. Technical, hygiene, economic, and life cycle assessment of full-scale moving bed biofilm reactors for wastewater treatment in India. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 2552–2569 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-0605-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Moving bed biofilm reactor
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Pathogen removal
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Environmental impacts
  • Economic costs