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Upstream Effects on Microbial Community Selection in Biological Activated Carbon Filters
AuthorGuarin Corredor, Tatiana C.
AdvisorPagilla, Krishna R.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
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Limited literature has explored the development of bacterial communities in biofilters used in advanced water reclamation for potable water reuse and their specific role in the biodegradation of contaminants of interest. The study of microbial ecology and the development of bacterial communities in biofilters based on upstream effects in the treatment systems and downstream effects on effluent quality and process stability is imperative. Investigation of the role of upstream effects such as seeding of microorganisms from the conventional water reclamation processes and effects of ozone oxidation on the community before and during biofiltration are the main foci of this research. In addition to microbial ecology assessment for biofiltration processes, this examined the applicability of ozonation - biofiltration as a treatment barrier in water reuse projects and identify future needs to consolidate it as the preferred option. This research collected pilot-scale and bench-scale data from experiments with reclaimed water to understand the biofilters microbiology and its capabilities and resilience based on different influent characteristics, either selecting and/or defining microorganisms to enhance biofilter performance and efficiency. Ozonation employed to disinfect pathogens and make trace organics more biodegradable followed by activated carbon-based biofiltration (biological activated carbon (BAC) filtration) were studied in combination with Coagulation/Flocculation/Clarification/Granular Media Filtration, Granular Activated Carbon Filtration, and Ultraviolet disinfection. This advanced treatment train combined physical, chemical, and biological processes to successfully produce a high-water quality with low to non-detectable contaminant of emerging concern reducing the risk to potential public health concerns. In summary, this research highlights how the structure, composition, development, and fate of microbial community in ozone/BAC and other processes such as CFCGMF and GAC/UV/CF in advanced water treatment for water reuse purposes can be a key player to assess and control the overall system performance and ensuring high quality and safe finished water.