Multiparameter analysis of activated sludge inhibition by nickel, cadmium, and cobalt
Hernandez-Martinez, Gabriel R. | 2018-06-05
Activated sludge processes are often inhibited by nickel, cadmium, and cobalt. The inhibitory effect of these heavy metals on a synthetic wastewater treatment process was tested through pulse microrespirometry; i.e., pulse of substrate injected in a microreactor system. The inhibitory effect was tested under different conditions including the heavy metals, substrate and biomass concentrations, and exposure time. The inhibitory effect was quantified by the percentage of inhibition, half saturation constant (KS), inhibition constant (KI), and maximum oxygen uptake rate (OURmax). The results indicated that, in a range of concentration from 0 to 40 mg L−1, the three heavy metals exerted an uncompetitive and incomplete inhibitory effect, with a maximum inhibition of 67, 57, and 53% for Ni, Co, and Cd, respectively. An increase of the biomass concentration by 620% resulted in a decrease of the inhibition by 47 and 69% for Co and Cd, respectively, while no effect was observed on Ni inhibition. An increase of the substrate concentration by 87% resulted in an increase of the inhibition by 24, 70, and 47% for Ni, Co and Cd, respectively. In the case of nickel and cadmium, an increase in the exposure time to the heavy metals also increased the inhibition.