Palm oil is one of the most important agroindustries in Malaysia. Huge quantities of palm oil mill effluent (POME) pose a great threat to aqueous environment due to its very high COD. To make full use of discharged wastes, the integrated "zero discharge" pilot-scale industrial plant comprising "pretreatment-anaerobic and aerobic process-membrane separation" was continuously operated for 1 year. After pretreatment in the oil separator tank, 55.6% of waste oil in raw POME could be recovered and sold and anaerobically digested through 2 AnaEG reactors followed by a dissolved air flotation (DAF); average COD reduced to about 3587 mg/L, and biogas production was 27.65 times POME injection which was used to generate electricity. The aerobic effluent was settled for 3 h or/and treated in MBR which could remove BOD3 (30°C) to less than 20 mg/L as required by Department of Environment of Malaysia. After filtration by UF and RO membrane, all organic compounds and most of the salts were removed; RO permeate could be reused as the boiler feed water. RO concentrate combined with anaerobic surplus sludge could be used as biofertilizer.
Rapid industrial developments coupled with surging population growth have complicated issues dealing with water scarcity as the quest for clean and sanitized water intensifies globally. Existing fresh water supplies could be contaminated with organic, inorganic and biological matters that have potential harm to the society. Turbidity in general is a measure of water cloudiness induced by such colloidal and suspended matters and is also one of the major criteria in raw water monitoring to meet the stipulated water quality guidelines. Turbidity reduction is often accomplished using chemical coagulants such as alum. The use of alum is widely associated with potential development of health issues and generation of voluminous sludge. Natural coagulants that are available in abundance can certainly be considered in addressing the drawbacks associated with the use of chemical coagulants. Twenty one types of plant-based natural coagulants categorized as fruit waste and others are identified and presented collectively with their research summary in this review. The barriers and prospects of commercialization of natural coagulants in near future are also discussed.
An innovative approach using soybean residues for the production of bioflocculants through solid-state fermentation was carried out in 4.5 L near-to-adiabatic bioreactors at pilot-scale level. An added inoculum of the strain Bacillus subtilis UPMB13 was tested in comparison with control reactors without any inoculation after the thermophilic phase of the fermentation. The flocculating performances of the extracted bioflocculants were tested on kaolin suspensions, and crude bioflocculants were obtained from 20 g of fermented substrate through ethanol precipitation. The production of bioflocculants was observed to be higher during the death phase of microbial growth. The bioflocculants were observed to be granular in nature and consisted of hydroxyl, carboxyl and methoxyl groups that aid in their flocculating performance. The results show the vast potential of the idea of using wastes to produce bioactive materials that can replace the current dependence on chemicals, for future prospect in water treatment applications.
The ability of aluminum coagulant extracted from red earth to treat Terasil Red R (disperse) and Cibacron Red R (reactive) synthetic dye wastewater was studied. The effects of extractant concentration, soil-to-volume of extractant ratio, and the types of extracting agents (NaOH vs. KCl) on the concentration of aluminum extracted were also investigated. In addition, the efficiency of extracted aluminum was compared with aluminum sulfate, in terms of its capability to reduce the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and to remove synthetic color. Factorial design was applied to determine the effect of selected factors on the amount of aluminum extracted from red earth (i.e., pH, dose of coagulant, type of coagulant on COD reduction, and color removal). It was found that only selected factors exhibited a significant effect on the amount of aluminum extracted from red earth. It was also determined that all factors and their interactions exhibited a significant effect on COD reduction and color removal when applying the extracted aluminum in a standard coagulation process. The results were also compared to aluminum sulfate. Furthermore, NaOH was found to be a better extractant of aluminum in red earth than KCl. Therefore, the best extracting conditions for both extractants were as follows: 2 M NaOH and in a 1:5 (soil/volume of extractant) ratio; 1 M KCl and 1:5 ratio. In treating synthetic dye wastewater, the extracted coagulant showed comparable treatment efficiency to the commercial coagulant. The extracted coagulant was able to reduce the COD of the dispersed dye by 85% and to remove 99% of the color of the dispersed dye, whereas the commercial coagulant reduced 90% of the COD and removed 99% of the color of the dispersed dye. Additionally, the extracted coagulant was able to reduce the COD of the reactive dye by 73% and to remove 99% of the color of the reactive dye. However, the commercial coagulant managed to reduce the COD of the reactive dye by 94% and to remove 96% of the color for the reactive dye.
Water reuse/recycle has gained much attention in recent years for environmental sustainability reasons, as well as the rising costs of fresh water and effluent treatment. Process integration techniques for the synthesis of water network have been widely accepted as a promising tool to reduce fresh water and wastewater flowrates via in-plant water reuse/recycle. To date, the focus in this area has been on water network synthesis problems, with little attention dedicated to the rare but realistic cases of so-called threshold problems. In this work, targeting for threshold problems in a water network is addressed using the recently developed numerical tool of water cascade analysis (WCA). Targeting for plant-wide integration is then addressed. By sending water sources across different geographical zones in plant-wide integration, the overall fresh water and wastewater flowrates are reduced simultaneously.
A promising biological, sustainable, non-hazardous, safe and environmental friendly management and disposal technique of domestic wastewater sludge is global expectation. Fungal entrapped biosolids as a result of prior fungal treated raw wastewater sludge was recycled to evaluate its performance as inoculum for bioseparation/bioconversion of supplemented sludge in view of continuous as well as scale up wastewater sludge treatment. Encouraging results were achieved in bioseparation of suspended solids and in dewaterability/filterability of treated domestic wastewater sludge. Fungal entrapped biosolids offered 98% removal of total suspended solids (TSS) in supplemented sludge treatment at 6-day without nutrient (wheat flour, WF) supply. Consequently, 99% removal of turbidity and 87% removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) were achieved in supernatant of treated sludge. The lowest value (1.75 x 10(12)m/kg) of specific resistance to filtration (SRF) was observed at 6-day after treatment, which was equivalent to the 70% decrease of SRF. The all results except SRF were not influenced further in treatments accompanied with WF supplementation. The present treatments offered significant (P
Cyanotoxins, microcystins and cylindrospermopsin, are potent toxins produced by cyanobacteria in potable water supplies. This study investigated the removal of cyanotoxins from aqueous media by magnetophoretic nanoparticle of polypyrrole adsorbent. The adsorption process was pH dependent with maximum adsorption occurring at pH 7 for microcystin-LA, LR, and YR and at pH 9 for microcystin-RR and cylindrospermopsin (CYN). Kinetic studies and adsorption isotherms reflected better fit for pseudo-second-order rate and Langmuir isotherm model, respectively. Thermodynamic calculations showed that the cyanotoxin adsorption process is endothermic and spontaneous in nature. The regenerated adsorbent can be successfully reused without appreciable loss of its original capacity.
A laboratory study was conducted on an Extended Aeration-Microfiltration (EAM) reactor in treating a food industry wastewater. The reactor contained horizontally laid hollow fibre microfiltration (MF) units that were fully submerged. The MF units were connected to a peristaltic pump that was used to extract permeate continuously under suction pressure. Continuous aeration from beneath the modules provided the crossflow effect to the MF units. Active activated sludge was used in the start-up where the sludge was mixed together with the feed water at a Food/Microorganisms (F/M) value of about 0.1. Primary effluent with Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) values ranged between 1,500 and 3,000 mg/l was used as feed water. The EAM reactor was operated for nearly three months without initiating cleaning of the MF units. A suction pressure of 0.9 bar and Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids (MLSS) of over 5,500 mg/l were reached when nearing the end of the three month operation period. Permeate COD and turbidity reduction of over 97% and 99% respectively, were achieved. Prior to this, the MF module arrangements were studied; where vertically arranged modules were found to perform poorly as compared to the horizontally laid modules, in terms of clean water permeate flux.
For decades, water treatment plants in Malaysia have widely employed aluminium-based coagulant for the removal of colloidal particles in surface water. This generates huge amount of by-product, known as sludge that is either reused for land applications or disposed to landfills. As sludge contains high concentration of aluminium, both can pose severe environmental issues. Therefore, this study explored the potential to recover aluminium from water treatment sludge using acid leaching process. The evaluation of aluminium recovery efficiency was conducted in two phases. The first phase used the one factor at a time (OFAT) approach to study the effects of acid concentration, solid to liquid ratio, temperature and heating time. Meanwhile, second phase emphasized on the optimization of aluminium recovery using Response Surface Methodology (RSM). OFAT results indicated that aluminium recovery increased with the rising temperature and heating time. Acid concentration and solid to liquid ratio, however, showed an initial increment followed by reduction of recovery with increasing concentration and ratio. Due to the solidification of sludge when acid concentration exceeded 4 M, this variable was fixed in the optimization study. RSM predicted that aluminium recovery can achieve 70.3% at optimal values of 4 M, 20.9%, 90 °C and 4.4 h of acid concentration, solid to liquid ratio, temperature and heating time, respectively. Experimental validation demonstrated a recovery of 68.8 ± 0.3%. The small discrepancy of 2.2 ± 0.4% between predicted and validated recovery suggests that RSM was a suitable tool in optimizing aluminium recovery conditions for water treatment sludge.
This study revealed the biotic and abiotic parameters driving the variations in microcystins (MCs) biodegradability of a practical biological treatment facility (BTF). Results showed that similar trends of seasonal variation were seen for microcystin-LR (MCLR) biodegradability of biofilms on the BTF and indigenous MCLR-degrader population, where both peaks co-occurred in October, following the peaks of natural MCLR concentration and water temperature observed in August. The lag period might be required for accumulation of MCLR-degraders and MCLR-degrading enzyme activity. The MCLR-degrader population was correlated to temperature, MCLR and chlorophyll-a concentration in water where the biofilms submerged, indicating that these abiotic and biotic parameters exerted direct and/or indirect influences on seasonal variation in MCLR-biodegradability. In comparison, no effect of other co-existing MCs on biodegradation of one MC was observed. However, proliferation of MC-degraders along biodegradation processes positively responded to total amount of MCs, suggesting that multiple MCs contributed additively to MC-degrader proliferation.
This study investigated the optimum conditions for total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) removal from diesel-contaminated water using phytoremediation treatment with Scirpus grossus. In addition, TPH removal from sand was adopted as a second response. The optimum conditions for maximum TPH removal were determined through a Box-Behnken Design. Three operational variables, i.e. diesel concentration (0.1, 0.175, 0.25% Vdiesel/Vwater), aeration rate (0, 1 and 2 L/min) and retention time (14, 43 and 72 days), were investigated by setting TPH removal and diesel concentration as the maximum, retention time within the given range, and aeration rate as the minimum. The optimum conditions were found to be a diesel concentration of 0.25% (Vdiesel/Vwater), a retention time of 63 days and no aeration with an estimated maximum TPH removal from water and sand of 76.3 and 56.5%, respectively. From a validation test of the optimum conditions, it was found that the maximum TPH removal from contaminated water and sand was 72.5 and 59%, respectively, which was a 5 and 4.4% deviation from the values given by the Box-Behnken Design, providing evidence that S. grossus is a Malaysian native plant that can be used to remediate wastewater containing hydrocarbons.
Activated carbons are regularly used the treatment of dye wastewater. They can be produced from various organics materials having high level of carbon content. In this study, a novel Pinang frond activated carbon (PFAC) was produced at various CO₂ flow rates in the range of 150-600 mL/min at activation temperature of 800°C for 3 hours. The optimum PFAC sample is found on CO₂ flow rate of 300 mL/min which gives the highest BET surface area and pore volume of 958 m²/g and 0.5469 mL/g, respectively. This sample shows well-developed pore structure with high fixed carbon content of 79.74%. The removal of methylene blue (MB) by 95.8% for initial MB concentration of 50 mg/L and 72.6% for 500 mg/L is achieved via this sample. The PFAC is thus identified to be a suitable adsorbent for removing MB from aqueous solution.
Manganese (Mn(2+)) is one of the inorganic contaminant that causes problem to water treatment and water distribution due to the accumulation on water piping systems. In this study, Bacillus sp. and sewage activated sludge (SAS) were investigated as biosorbents in laboratory-scale experiments. The study showed that Bacillus sp. was a more effective biosorbent than SAS. The experimental data were fitted to the Langmuir (Langmuir-1 & Langmuir-2), Freundlich, Temkin, Dubinin-Radushkevich (D-R) and Redlich-Peterson (R-P) isotherms to obtain the characteristic parameters of each model. Mn(2+) biosorption by Bacillus sp. was found to be significantly better fitted to the Langmuir-1 isotherm than the other isotherms, while the D-R isotherm was the best fit for SAS; i.e., the χ(2) value was smaller than that for the Freundlich, Temkin, and R-P isotherms. According to the evaluation using the Langmuir-1 isotherm, the maximum biosorption capacities of Mn(2+) onto Bacillus sp. and SAS were 43.5 mg Mn(2+)/g biomass and 12.7 mg Mn(2+)/g biomass, respectively. The data fitted using the D-R isotherm showed that the Mn(2+) biosorption processes by both Bacillus sp. and SAS occurred via the chemical ion-exchange mechanism between the functional groups and Mn(2+) ion.
A study has been carried out to define the effect of drastic temperature changes on the performance of lab-scale hollow-fibre MBR in treating municipal wastewater at a flux of 10 L m(-2) h(-1) (LMH). The objectives of the study were to estimate the activated sludge properties, the removal efficiencies of COD and NH(3)-N and the membrane fouling tendency under critical conditions of drastic temperature changes (23, 33, 42 & 33 °C) and MLSS concentration ranged between 6,382 and 8,680 mg/L. The study exhibited that the biomass reduction, the low sludge settleability and the supernatant turbidity were results of temperature increase. The temperature increase led to increase in SMP carbohydrate and protein, and to decrease in EPS carbohydrate and protein. The BRE of COD dropped from 80% at 23 °C to 47% at 42 °C, while the FRE was relatively constant at about 90%. Both removal efficiencies of NH(3)-N trended from about 100% at 33 °C to less than 50% at 42 °C. TMP and BWP ascended critically with temperature increase up to 336 and 304 mbar respectively by the end of the experiment. The values of suspended solids (SS) and the turbidity in the final effluent were negligible. The DO in the mixed liquor was varying with temperature change, while the pH was within the range of 6.7-8.3.
In this study of coagulation operation, a comparison was made between the optimum jar test values for pH, coagulant and coagulant aid obtained from traditional methods (an adjusted one-factor-at-a-time (OFAT) method) and with central composite design (the standard design of response surface methodology (RSM)). Alum (coagulant) and polymer (coagulant aid) were used to treat a water source with very low pH and high aluminium concentration at Sri-Gading water treatment plant (WTP) Malaysia. The optimum conditions for these factors were chosen when the final turbidity, pH after coagulation and residual aluminium were within 0-5 NTU, 6.5-7.5 and 0-0.20 mg/l respectively. Traditional and RSM jar tests were conducted to find their respective optimum coagulation conditions. It was observed that the optimum dose for alum obtained through the traditional method was 12 mg/l, while the value for polymer was set constant at 0.020 mg/l. Through RSM optimization, the optimum dose for alum was 7 mg/l and for polymer was 0.004 mg/l. Optimum pH for the coagulation operation obtained through traditional methods and RSM was 7.6. The final turbidity, pH after coagulation and residual aluminium recorded were all within acceptable limits. The RSM method was demonstrated to be an appropriate approach for the optimization and was validated by a further test.
The Bio-ecological Drainage System, or BIOECODS, is an urban drainage system located at the Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia. It consists of a constructed wetland as a part of the urban drainage system to carry storm water in a closed system. In this closed system, the constructed wetland was designed particularly for further treatment of storm water. For the purpose of studying the water balance of the constructed wetland, data collection was carried out for two years (2007 and 2009). The results show that the constructed wetland has a consistent volume of water storage compared to the outflow for both years with correlation coefficients (R(2)) of 0.99 in 2007 and 0.86 in 2009.
This research investigated the effects of co- and counter-current flow patterns on oil-water-solid separation efficiencies of a circular separator with inclined coalescence mediums. Oil-water-solid separations were tested at different influent concentrations and flowrates. Removal efficiencies increased as influent flowrate decreased, and their correlationship can be represented by power equations. These equations were used to predict the required flowrate, Q(ss50), for a given influent suspended solids concentration C(iss) to achieve the desired effluent suspended solids concentration, C(ess) of 50 mg/L, to meet environmental discharge requirements. The circular separator with counter-current flow was found to attend removal efficiencies relatively higher as compared to the co-current flow. As compared with co-current flow, counter-current flow Q(ss50) was approximately 1.65 times higher than co-current flow. It also recorded 13.16% higher oil removal at influent oil concentration, C(io) of 100 mg/L, and approximately 5.89% higher TSS removal at all influent flowrates. Counter-current flow's better removal performances were due to its higher coalescing area and constant interval between coalescence plate layers.
Accumulation of nitrite intermediate in autohydrogenotrophic denitrification process has been a challenging difficulty to tackle. This study showed that further growth of "true denitrifying" bacteria and adaptation to nitrite led to a faster reduction of nitrite than nitrate as a solution to circumvent nitrite accumulation. Moreover, two effective parameters namely pH and bicarbonate dose were optimized in order to achieve a better reduction rate. Sodium bicarbonate dose ranging from 20 to 2000 mg/L and pH in the range of 6.5-8.5 was selected to be examined employing 0.2 g MLVSS/L of reacclimatized denitrifying bacteria. Eleven runs of experiments were designed considering the interactive effect of these two operative parameters. A fairly close reduction time less than 4.5 h (>22.22 mg NO2(-)-N/g MLVSS/h) was gained for the pH range between 7 and 8. The highest specific nitrite reduction rate at 25 mg NO2(-)-N/g MLVSS/h was achieved applying 1000 mg NaHCO3/L at pH 7.5 and 8. The pH was found to be the leading parameter and bicarbonate as the less effective parameter on nitrite reduction removal. Central composite design (CCD) and response surface design (RSM) were employed to develop a model as well as define the optimum condition. Using the experimental data, the developed quadratic model predicted optimum condition at pH 7.8 and sodium bicarbonate dose 1070 mg/L upon which denitrifiers managed to accomplish reduction within 3.5 h and attained the specific degradation rate of 28.57 mg NO2(-)-N/g MLVSS/h.
Removal of arsenic from aqueous solution was carried out using electrocoagulation. Experiments were conducted using mild steel sacrificial anode covering wide range in operating conditions to assess the removal efficiency. The maximum arsenic removal efficiency was recorded as 94% under optimum condition. The electrocoagulation mechanism of arsenic removal has been developed to understand the effect of applied charge and electrolyte pH on arsenic removal efficiency. Further the experimental data were tested with different adsorption isotherm model to describe the electrocoagulation process.
In this study, advanced oxidation process utilizing Fenton's reagent was investigated for degradation of malachite green (MG). The effects of different reaction parameters such as the initial MG concentration, initial pH, the initial hydrogen peroxide concentration, the initial ferrous concentration and the reaction temperature on the oxidative degradation of MG have been investigated. The optimal reacting conditions were experimentally found to be pH 3.40, initial hydrogen peroxide concentration=0.50mM and initial ferrous concentration=0.10mM for initial MG concentration of 20mg/L at 30 degrees C. Under optimal conditions, 99.25% degradation efficiency of dye in aqueous solution was achieved after 60 min of reaction.