4 years ago

Technical, hygiene, economic, and life cycle assessment of full-scale moving bed biofilm reactors for wastewater treatment in India

Markus Starkl, Anju Singh, Megha Sawant, Yogita Chakravarthy, Sheetal Jaisingh Kamble, Makarand Ghangrekar, Enrique Aymerich, Ligy Philip, Absar Kazmi


Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) is a highly effective biological treatment process applied to treat both urban and industrial wastewaters in developing countries. The present study investigated the technical performance of ten full-scale MBBR systems located across India. The biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solid, pathogens, and nutrient removal efficiencies were low as compared to the values claimed in literature. Plant 1 was considered for evaluation of environmental impacts using life cycle assessment approach. CML 2 baseline 2000 methodology was adopted, in which 11 impact categories were considered. The life cycle impact assessment results revealed that the main environmental hot spot of this system was energy consumption. Additionally, two scenarios were compared: scenario 1 (direct discharge of treated effluent, i.e., no reuse) and scenario 2 (effluent reuse and tap water replacement). The results showed that scenario 2 significantly reduce the environmental impact in all the categories ultimately decreasing the environmental burden. Moreover, significant economic and environmental benefits can be obtained in scenario 2 by replacing the freshwater demand for non-potable uses. To enhance the performance of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), there is a need to optimize energy consumption and increase wastewater collection efficiency to maximize the operating capacity of plant and minimize overall environmental footprint. It was concluded that MBBR can be a good alternative for upgrading and optimizing existing municipal wastewater treatment plants with appropriate tertiary treatment.

Graphical abstract

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-017-0605-y

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-017-0605-y

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