Transformation of molecular weight distributions of dissolved organic carbon and UV-absorbing compounds at full-scale wastewater-treatment plants

Mario Esparza-Soto, Peter Fox, Paul Westerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The molecular-weight distribution (MWD) of wastewater dissolved-organic carbon (DOC) was determined in samples from seven full-scale wastewater-treatment plants (WWTPs) that use different biological treatments (air activated sludge [air-AS], pure-oxygen AS [O2-AS], and trickling filters). The research objective was to determine how different biological treatments influenced the MWD of wastewater DOC. Primary sedimentation effluent DOC from most of the WWTPs exhibited a skewed distribution toward the low-molecular-weight fraction (MWF) (40 to 50%, <0.5 K Daltons [KDa]). The Air-AS effluent DOC exhibited a centrally clustered distribution, with the majority of DOC in the intermediate MWF (0.5 to 3 KDa). The O2-AS effluent DOC exhibited a skewed distribution toward the high MWF (>3 KDa). The removal of DOC by air- and O2-AS bacteria followed trends predicted by a macromolecule degradation model. Trickling-filter effluent DOC exhibited a skewed distribution toward the high MWF (50% DOC, >3 KDa).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalWater Environment Research
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Keywords

  • Air-activated sludge
  • Dissolved-organic carbon
  • Extracellular polymers
  • Molecular-weight distribution
  • Pure-oxygen-activated sludge
  • Soluble microbial products
  • Ultrafiltration membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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