Optimization methodology for high COD nutrient-limited wastewaters treatment using BAS process
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Optimization of biofilm activated sludge (BAS) process via mathematical modelling is an entangle activity since economic, environmental objective and technical decision must be considered. This paper presents a methodology to optimize the operational conditions of BAS process in four steps by combining dynamic simulation techniques with non-linear optimization methods and with operative decision-making criteria. Two set of variables are separately prioritized in the methodology: essential variables related to physical operation to enforce established process performance, and refinement variables related to biological processes that can generate risks of bulking, pin-point floc and rising sludge. The proposed optimization strategy is applied for the treatment of high COD wastewater under nutrient limitation using an integrated mathematical model for COD removal that include predation, hydrolysis and a simplified approach to the limiting solids flux theory in the secondary clarifier in order to facilitate the convergence of the optimization solver. The methodology is implemented in a full-scale wastewater treatment plant for a cellulose and viscose fibre mill obtaining (i) improvement of the effluent quality index (Kg pollution/m3) up to 62% and, (ii) decrease the operating cost index (€/m3) of the process up to 30% respect the regular working operational conditions of the plant. The proposed procedure can be also applied to other biological treatments treating high COD nutrient-limited industrial wastewater such as from textile and winery production among others.
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