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Reverse osmosis (RO) has been widely utilized in water reclamation plants and produces a concentrated brine (or reject) stream as a by-product. RO concentrates (ROC) contain vast quantities of salts and dissolved organic matter, such as biomass and humic-like substances, which hinder biological wastewater treatment (such as biological nitrogen removal). In this study, we cultivated granular sludge in an aerobic sequencing batch reactor to treat municipal wastewater with an organic loading rate of 2.1–4.3 kgCOD/m3 day at room temperature (25 °C), and remove total dissolved solids (TDS) from ROC by biosorption, with aerobic granular sludge as a novel biosorbent. The results of the kinetic experiments demonstrated that TDS removal by aerobic granular sludge was more rapid than that by other coagulants and adsorbents (i.e., calcium hydroxide, polyaluminum chloride, activated sludge, powdered activated carbon, granular activated carbon, and zeolite) under optimal treatment conditions. The biosorption of TDS on the aerobic granular sludge was well-modeled by the Lagergren first-order model, with a maximum biosorption capacity of 1698 mg/g. Thus, aerobic granular sludge could be effective as a regenerable biosorbent for removing the TDS in ROC from municipal wastewater.


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Kim, D.-H., Park, S., Yoon, Y., & Park, C. M. (2018). Removal of total dissolved solids from reverse osmosis concentrates from a municipal wastewater reclamation plant by aerobic granular sludge. Water, 10(7), 882. doi:10.3390/w10070882