In this study, a fixed-bed biofiltration system (biofilter) that utilized indigenous microorganisms was developed for the reclamation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). With the assistance of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), indigenous microorganisms from OSPW were able to attach to the surface of sand media and form biofilms. The number of total bacteria on the biofilter media reached a steady state (109/g) after 23 days of operation. Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography/High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (UPLC/HRMS) analysis showed that 21.8% of the classical naphthenic acids (NAs) removal was achieved through the circulation of raw OSPW on the biofilter for 8 times (equivalent to a hydraulic retention time of 16 h). When ozonation with utilized ozone dose of 30 mg/L was applied as pretreatment, the classical NAs in the ozonated OSPW were removed by 89.3% with an accelerated biodegradation rate of 0.5 mg/L/h. Compared with other biofilm reactors such as moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR), ozonation pretreatment could benefit the biodegradation of NAs in the biofilter more (classical NA removal: 89.3% vs. 34.4%), especially for those with high carbon number and cyclicity. The combined ozonation-biofiltration process could remove 92.7% of classical NAs from raw OSPW in 16 h. Although both ozonation and biofiltration alone did not show degradation of oxidized NAs from raw OSPW, the combined process led to a 52.9% and 42.6% removal for O3-NAs and O4-NAs, respectively, which were the dominant oxidized NA species in OSPW. Metagenomic sequencing analysis showed that Rhodococcus was the dominant bacterial genus on the sand media, which may play a crucial role during the NA biodegradation. With the advantage of high NA removal efficiency, the combined ozonation-biofiltration process is a promising approach for NA degradation and shows high potential to be scaled up for in-situ OSPW treatment.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: Apr 15, 2018
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