Evaluation for biological reduction of nitrate and perchlorate in brine water using the hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor

Jinwook Chung, Robert Nerenberg, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Whereas ion exchange is an attractive technology for treating perchlorate and nitrate in drinking water, a major disadvantage is that the resin must be regenerated using a brine, producing wastes with high concentrations of nitrate, perchlorate, and salt. This study investigates the potential for simultaneous nitrate and perchlorate reductions in high-salt conditions using the H2-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR). The autotrophic biological reductions produce harmless N2 and Cl-, making the brine safe for reuse or disposal. A very high-strength brine (∼15% salt) from a commercial ion-exchange membrane, Purolite, supported biofilm accumulation and allowed slow reduction rates for nitrate and perchlorate. Reduction rates increased significantly when the Purolite brine was diluted by 50% or more. A synthetic high-strength salt medium containing nitrate, perchlorate, or both supported more rapid reduction rates for as high as 20g/L (∼2%) NaCl, while 40g/L NaCl slowed reduction by 40% or more, confirming that the microorganisms in the MBfR were inhibited by high salt content. An increase of H2 pressure gave higher fluxes for 20g/L NaCl, demonstrating that H2 availability controlled the reduction kinetics when the system was not salt-inhibited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Volume133
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007

Keywords

  • Biofilm
  • Biological treatment
  • Brines
  • Nitrates
  • Reactors
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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