Rotating Biological Contactor

RBCs are classified under aerobic attached growth treatment systems. An RBC consists of a series of circular disks, which are closely connected to a rotating shaft. These circular disks can be made of polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride.38 About 40% of the disk is submerged in the wastewater during the process.41 During the operation, a biofilm is formed on the surface of the disks. As the disks are rotating and contact with wastewater is alternative, the organics contact with the biological growth and oxygen time to time. This is advantageous to maintain the aerobic condition in the biofilm as well.38 The RBC has advantages and disadvantages. The large area of biofilms, good settling of detached biomass, and low sludge production are some of the advantages of the RBC system. Due to its rotating nature, frequent maintenance is required. Moreover, the protection of the unit from climate changes (e.g., freezing) is problematic.41

RBC technology has been studied for different types of food industry wastewaters. In a study carried out by Najafpour et al.,42 a bench-scale RBC was studied for the treatment of wastewater from palm oil mill effluents. The COD of the wastewater was reported to be as high as 16,000 mg/L. COD removal with 55 h HRT was 88%. Surface loading to the RBC ranged from 38 to 210 g COD/ (m2 d). A total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) removal of 80% and an SS removal of 89% were achieved as well. Meat processing industry wastewater was treated using a combination of an UASB a reactor and a RBC.43 It should be noted that meat processing wastewater is of high organic strength and it is difficult to treat this using a single step. Wastewater was first treated using the UASB reactor and the removal of total COD, total BOD, TSS, and O&G were 56%, 56%, 85%, and 58%, respectively. This wastewater was then treated with the RBC. The overall removal percentages of COD, BOD, TSS, and O&G were 91.5%, 94%, 96%, and 91%, respectively.

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