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Removal of diclofenac and ibuprofen from sanitary sewage by anaerobic digestion in AnSBBR: feasibility of co-digestion with ethanol and glycerin

Grant number: 22/06584-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2022
Effective date (End): September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering - Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment
Principal Investigator:Roberta Albanez Toreta
Grantee:Marina Borges Fontão de Oliveira
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia Mauá (EEM). Instituto Mauá de Tecnologia. São Caetano do Sul , SP, Brazil


Sodium diclofenac (DCF) and ibuprofen (IBU) are anti-inflammatory drugs considered emerging contaminants, which can cause adverse impacts on public health and the environment. The presence of these compounds in surface water, soils, wastewater and drinking water has increased significantly in recent decades, and the trend is that it will continue to increase, mainly due to population growth and greater access to medicines. The detection of these drugs in water that underwent treatment in sewage treatment plants indicates the ineffectiveness of current treatment systems in removing these contaminants. Anaerobic treatment is a good alternative for removing such drugs, as it requires less energy and has a lower cost compared to other methods (such as physical-chemical or aerobic treatments). The addition of a co-substrate, such as a by-product or an industrial effluent, can increase the biodegradable organic load of the sewage and dilute toxic components, improving the economic viability of conventional plants, improving effluent reliability and biogas production. For this purpose, anaerobic bioreactors operated in sequential batches have been studied by the research group of the Mauá Engineering School of the Mauá Institute of Technology for two decades and have shown promising results obtained on bench scale. The main advantages of this type of bioreactor are its simplicity; better solids retention; and high efficiency of organic matter removal. In this context, the present project aims to analyze the operational feasibility of an anaerobic sequencing batch biofilm reactor (AnSBBR) in the treatment of synthetic sanitary sewage for the removal of DCF and IBU, evaluating the influence of the addition of ethanol and glycerin. The results will be evaluated on the stability and efficiency of the process in relation to substrate and micropollutants conversion, methane productivity and yield between methane produced and substrate consumed.

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