Potential of a Bioelectrochemical Technology for the Polishing of Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent

생물전기화학기술을 이용한 하수처리장 방류수 수질개선 가능성

  • Received : 2015.04.14
  • Accepted : 2015.06.04
  • Published : 2015.07.31


The study on the improvement of discharge water quality from domestic wastewater treatment plant (DWTP) was performed in a filter type bioelectrochemical system. The COD removal efficiency for a synthetic discharge water was about 88%, and the effluent COD was less than 5mg/L. The nitrification efficiency of the bioelectrochemical system was over 97%, but a considerable amount of the nitrogen was remained as nitrate form in the effluent. The total nitrogen removal efficiency was only around 30%. There are no significant differences in the removal of COD and nitrogen at 0.6 and 0.8V of the applied voltages between anode and cathode. The removal of COD and nitrogen in the system were quite stable when the HRT ranged from 60 to 15 minutes, and at 10 minutes of HRT, the nitrification efficiency was slightly decreased. The performance of the bioelectrochemical system has quickly recovered from the shocks in the influent due to high concentration of COD and nitrogen. For the effluent that discharged from the DWTP, the removal efficiencies of COD and total nitrogen from the bioelectrochemical system were 50 and 30%, respectively. Thus the bioelectrochemical system was a feasible process for further polishing the effluent quality from DWTP.


bioelectrochemical;domestic wastewater;effluent water quality;improvement


  1. Bard, A. J. and Faulkner, L. R. (2001). Electrochemical Methods, Fundamentals and Application, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 18-28.
  2. Chang, D., Choi, H. S., Sunwoo, Y., and Hong, K. H. (2014). Performance Response and Recovery of Temporal and Spatial Phase Separated Process for Nutrients Removal in Short-Term Shock Loadings, Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 20, pp. 3009-3013.
  3. Choi, C. G. and Lee, K. H. (2002). Characteristics of Domestic Wastewater Flow Rate and Water Quality in Cheongju City, Journal of Korea Environmental Technology, 3(2), pp. 135-141. [Korean Literature]
  4. Elmitwalli, T. A., Dun, M. V., Bruning, H., Zeeman, G., and Lettinga, G. (2000). The Role of Filter Media in Removing Suspended and Colloidal Particles in an Anaerobic Reactor Treating Domestic Sewage, Bioresource Technology, 72, pp. 235-242.
  5. Hamelers, H. V. M., Heijne, A. T., Sleutels, T. H. J. A., Jeremiasse, A. W., Strik, D. P. B. T. B., Cees J. N., and Buisman, C. J. N. (2010). New Applications and Performance of Bioelectrochemical Systems, Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, 85, pp. 1673-1685.
  6. Kim, Y. C., Chang, I. S., and Lee, D. R. (2003). Design Consideration of Reuse Treatment Facility for the Secondary Effluent from Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant, Journal of Korean Society of Environmental Engineers, 25(8), pp. 946-954. [Korean Literature]
  7. Kovarova-Koar, K. and Egli, T. (1998). Growth Kinetics of Suspended Microbial Cells: From Single-Substrate-Controlled Growth to Mixed-Substrate Kinetics, Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 62(3), pp. 646-666.
  8. Krieg, T., Sydow, A., Schroder, U., Schrader J., and Holtmann, D. (2014). Reactor Concepts for Bioelectrochemical Syntheses and Energy Conversion, Trends in Biotechnology, 32(12), pp. 645-655.
  9. Liu, Y. (2006). A Simple Thermodynamic Approach for Derivation of a General Monod Equation for Microbial Growth, Biochemical Engineering Journal, 31, pp. 102-105.
  10. Reis, C. M. and Silva, E. L. (2011). Effect of Upflow Velocity and Hydraulic Retention Time in Anaerobic Fluidized-Bed Reactors Used for Hydrogen Production, Chemical Engineering Journal, 172, pp. 28-36.
  11. Rozendal, R. A., Hamelers, H. V. M., Rabaey, K., Keller, J., and Buisman, C. J. N. (2008). Towards Practical Implementation of Bioelectrochemical Wastewater Treatment, Trends in Biotechnology, 26(8), pp. 450-459.
  12. Snoeyink, V. L. and Jenkins, D. (1980). Water Chemistry, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 328-329.
  13. Song, Y. C., Lim, H. J., and Woo, J. H. (2015). Influence of Applied Voltage and COD on the Bioelectrochemical Degradation of Organic Matter, Desalination and Water Treatment, 53, pp. 2732-2739.
  14. Tchobanoglous, G., Stensel, H. D., Tsuchihashi, R., Burton, F., Abu-Orf, M., Bowden, G., and Pfrang, W. (2014). Waterwater Engineering: Treatment and Resource Recovery, 5th edition, Metcalf and Eddy Inc., McGraw-Hill, New York pp. 551-696.