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Title: Aerobic sequencing batch reactor for the treatment of industrial wastewater from the brewery
Authors: Shabangu, Khaya Pearlman 
Issue Date: 2017
One of the major effects of socio-economic change due to industrialisation is the generation of industrial wastewater, which requires treatment before being released into the environment. Laboratory-scale aerobic sequencing batch reactors under suspended-growth heterotrophic activated sludge were operated in different aeration configurations to study their effect on the treatment of wastewater generated by a local brewery. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of the two laboratory-scale aerobic sequencing batch reactors treating brewery wastewater under continuous low-oxygen dosing concentration and cyclic aeration schemes on SBR operation. The characterisation of brewery wastewater was undertaken to assess the physicochemical composition of the wastewater produced from one of the breweries in South Africa (SAB).

The data showed distinctive characteristics of brewery wastewater, which coincided with studies previously carried out on characterisation of brewery wastewater. The COD average concentration of the brewery influent was 7100 mg/L, with average pH values of 7. The BOD and the total solids content of the brewery wastewater influent from the facility were both high, implying that the influent was very rich in organic content and its discharge into water-receiving bodies or the municipal treatment plant could have adverse effects.

From these results, a need for a competitive treatment technology was clearly highlighted so as to carry out a feasible treatment of the influent for the brewery industry. The aerobic sequencing batch reactors were designed, fabricated and set up for laboratory-scale treatment of wastewater from the brewery for 15 weeks. The performance of the two SBR configurations was determined with reference to COD, BOD, TS, VS and TSS. The experimental results demonstrated that wastewater generated from the breweries can be treated successfully using both aeration configurations. The results obtained indicated that treatment efficiencies in terms of COD and BOD were 94 % and 85 % respectively, for the reactor operated under continuous aeration configuration, while 81 % and 65 % was achieved for the reactor operated in the cyclic aeration scheme. The findings from this study demonstrate that the performance of the reactor operated under the continuous aeration scheme was successful, and showed statistically significant differences from the performance of the reactor operated under cyclic aeration schemes. These findings imply that there is a potential for the equipment, including financial benefit as a result of operating aerobic sequencing batch reactors for treating brewery wastewater under continuous low-oxygen concentration dosing schemes.

In this study, it was also established that the maximum COD removal could be reached at an optimum hydraulic retention times of 5 days for both reactors. This was based upon viewing the experimental data; it appeared that the most significant difference in percentage COD removal was for HRTs 3 days and 4 days. Although, due to less percentage COD removal observed from HRTs 5 days till 7 days, it was hence established that the optimum removal of high strength organics in the brewery wastewater could be achieved within 5 days of treatment time. The pH adapted at an average of 7 for all batch experimentations of the study. The temperature maintained an average of 23 oC ambient, throughout the experimental period. These physical parameters ensured that the microbial population was kept healthy, without inhibiting its biological degradation activity. Although, sludge build up was observed in both aerobic SBRs on completion of each batch operation due to solids retention and organic pollutants biodegradation from the brewery wastewater. It was perceived that frequently reseeding both aerobic SBRs, as an alternative to 28 days sludge retention time would enhance the recovery of biomass, thus improving the overall removal of TSS consequently minimising sludge bulking in both reactors.
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering, Durban University of Technology, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Engineering and Built Environment)

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