Investigation of batch anaerobic digestion and membrane filtration efficiency for the treatment of unhairing wastewater

N. Mlaik, L. Martin-González, S. Woodward, J. Bouzid, T. Mechichi, M. Sarra


Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiencies of the anaerobic batch digestion test and the membrane filtration process in treating unhairing wastewater from tanneries.

During the anaerobic test, the higher initial organic load decreased the biogas yield. With an initial organic matter load of 5 g COD/L, the biogas yield was of 367 mL/g COD introduced, compared to the 250 mL/g COD introduced when the initial organic matter load was 2.7 g COD/ L. Microfiltration (MF) of unhairing wastewater using a 0.2 µm pore-size membrane resulted in high removal efficiencies, 100% for bacteria and 98.5 and 99% for turbidity in the 1st and 2nd MF series, respectively. These results confirmed the importance of MF for the removal of suspended solids (SS) from unhairing wastewater.

A microtoxicity assay showed only the anaerobic batch digestion test carried out under low initial COD was able to adequately reduce the toxicity of unhairing effluents. 

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