Selenate removal in methanogenic and sulfate-reducing upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactors

Abstract : This paper evaluates the use of upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) bioreactors (30 degrees C, pH = 7.0) to remove selenium oxyanions from contaminated waters (790 mu g Se L-1) under methanogenic and sulfate-reducing conditions using lactate as electron donor. One UASB reactor received sulfate at different sulfate to selenate ratios, while another UASB was operated under methanogenic conditions for 132 days without sulfate in the influent. The selenate effluent concentrations in the sulfate-reducing and methanogenic reactor were 24 and 8 mu gSeL(-1), corresponding to removal efficiencies of 97% and 99%, respectively. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and sequential extractions showed that selenium was mainly retained as elemental selenium in the biomass. However, the total dissolved selenium effluent concentrations amounted to 73 and 80 mu gSeL(-1), respectively, suggesting that selenate was partly converted to another selenium compound, most likely colloidally dispersed Sea nanoparticles. Possible intermediates of selenium reduction (selenite, dimethylselenide, dimethyldiselenide, H2Se) could not be detected. Sulfate reducers removed selenate at molar excess of sulfate to selenate (up to a factor of 2600) and elevated dissolved sulfide concentrations (up to 168mgL(-1)), but selenium removal efficiencies were limited by the applied sulfate-loading rate. in the methanogenic bioreactor, selenate and dissolved selenium removal were independent of the sulfate load, but inhibited by sulfide (101 mg L-1). The selenium removal efficiency of the methanogenic UASB abruptly improved after 58 days of operation, suggesting that a specialized selenium-converting population developed in the reactor. This paper demonstrates that both sulfate-reducing and methanogenic UASB reactors can be applied to remove selenate from contaminated natural waters and anthropogenic waste streams, e.g. agricultural drainage waters, acid mine drainage and flue gas desulfurization bleeds. (C)) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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M. Lenz, Eric D. Van Hullebusch, G. Hommes, P. Corvini, P.N.L. Lens. Selenate removal in methanogenic and sulfate-reducing upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactors. Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2008, 42 (8-9), pp.2184-2194. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2007.11.031⟩. ⟨hal-00693574⟩



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