Potential of ultrafiltration for organic matter removal in the polymer industry effluent based on particle size distribution analysis

Doğruel S., Cokgor E. U., İnce O., Sözen S., Orhon D.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, vol.20, no.1, pp.340-350, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The purpose of the study was the experimental evaluation of ultrafiltration as a potential innovative technology for the removal of organic matter of around 15,000 mg chemical oxygen demand (COD) per liter in the polymer industry wastewater. Particle size distribution (PSD) analysis served as the major experimental instrument along with conventional chemical settling. Biodegradation characteristics of the remaining COD after ultrafiltration were determined by model interpretation of the corresponding oxygen uptake rate (OUR) profile. The study first involved a detailed characterization of the polymer wastewater including PSD analysis of the COD content. Chemical treatability was investigated using lime alone and with ferric chloride as coagulants followed with a PSD assessment of the chemically settled effluent. Modeling of the OUR profile generated by the ultrafiltration effluent defined related biodegradation kinetics and provided information on the overall COD removal potential. PSD analysis indicated that more than 70 % of the total COD accumulated in the 220- to 450-nm size range. It indicated that ultrafiltration was potentially capable of removing more than 90 % of the COD with an effluent lower than 1,500 mg COD/L. Chemical settling with 750 mg/L of FeCl3 dosing at a pH of 7.0 provided a similar performance. The ultrafiltration effluent included mainly hydrolysable COD and proved to be biodegradable, with the process kinetics compatible with domestic sewage. PSD evaluation proved to be a valuable scientific instrument for underlining the merit of ultrafiltration as the appropriate innovative technology for polymer wastewater, removing the major portion of the COD in a way that is suitable for recovery and reuse and producing a totally biodegradable effluent.