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Fate Mechanisms and Removal of Tetrabromobisphenol-A (2,2’,6,6’-Tetrabromo-4,4’-isopropylidenediphenol) in the Activated Sludge Process

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Title: Fate Mechanisms and Removal of Tetrabromobisphenol-A (2,2’,6,6’-Tetrabromo-4,4’-isopropylidenediphenol) in the Activated Sludge Process
Author: Potvin, Christopher Michael
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Zhou, Hongde
Abstract: A novel method for determination of tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), was developed using gas chromatography-negative ion chemical ionization-mass spectrom- etry (GC-NCI-MS). Samples of municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) influent were analyzed for TBBPA. Levels ranged from 1 to 41 ng/L, with an average of 20 ± 14 ng/L. Matrix effects were shown to be 30 ± 17 % in the influent and -30 ± 11 % in membrane permeate. The method limit of quantitation was 0.1 ng/L TBBPA. Sorption of TBBPA to fresh mixed-liquor suspended solids (MLSS) from a membrane bioreactor (MBR) were studied. In a kinetic study, sorption was found to be essentially complete after 12 hours of exposure to MLSS. Log Koc and log Kd were measured at 4.7 ± 0.8 and 1.9 ± 0.8 respectively (n = 22). These values were much higher than modelled estimates based on Kow (p ≥ 0.05), and higher than modelled estimates based on Kow and pKa (p ≥ 0.05). Data was successfully modelled using the Freundlich isotherm, having a Kf value of 8.5 and an n value of 1.7. TBBPA adsorbed to borosilicate glassware, with a wall-loss coefficient (Kw) of 0.15 ± 0.1 (n ≥ 3). TBBPA levels in WWTP influent varied from 13 to 29 ng/L while effluent concentrations varied from 0 to 2.2 ng/L over the same period. Three pilot-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) removed less TBBPA during the same time period, though MBR removal was also significant (p ≥ 0.05). Increasing MBR sludge residence time (SRT) increased removal at the 86 % confidence interval (p = 0.14). A nitrifying MABR was shown to remove TBBPA significantly when spiked with ammonia and TBBPA (p ≥ 0.05), showing that nitrifying bacteria can degrade TBBPA. An MABR hollow fibre was found to adsorb TBBPA. Various soluble microbial products (SMP) were studied from MBRs fed munici- pal influent. Using current measurement practices, SMP were shown to be sensitive to matrix effects. Use of the standard addition technique (SA) can compensate for this. Measurements using SA showed SMP degrades rapidly during storage in the fridge and due to freezing. SA was also used to compare commonly used SMP extraction techniques, and showed that extraction method influences recovery.
Date: 2012-04
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