Hexavalent chromium reduction in a sulfur reducing packed-bed bioreactor

ŞAHİNKAYA E., Kilic A., Altun M., Komnitsas K., Lens P. N. L.

JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, vol.219, pp.253-259, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


The most commonly used approach for the detoxification of hazardous industrial effluents and wastewaters containing Cr(VI) is its reduction to the much less toxic and immobile form of Cr(III). This study investigates the cleanup of Cr(VI) containing wastewaters using elemental sulfur as electron acceptor, for the production of hydrogen sulfide that induces Cr(VI) reduction. An elemental sulfur reducing packed-bed bioreactor was operated at 28-30 degrees C for more than 250 days under varying influent Cr(VI) concentrations (5.0-50.0 mg/L) and hydraulic retention times (HRTs, 0.36-1.0 day). Ethanol or acetate (1000 mg/L COD) was used as carbon source and electron donor. The degree of COD oxidation varied between 30% and 85%, depending on the operating conditions and the type of organic carbon source. The oxidation of organic matter was coupled with the production of hydrogen sulfide, which reached a maximum concentration of 750 mg/L. The biologically produced hydrogen sulfide reduced Cr(VI) chemically to Cr(III) that precipitated in the reactor. Reduction of Cr(VI) and removal efficiency of total chromium always exceeded 97% and 85%, respectively, implying that the reduced chromium was retained in the bioreactor. This study showed that sulfur can be used as an electron acceptor to produce hydrogen sulfide that induces efficient reduction and immobilization of Cr(VI), thus enabling decontamination of Cr(VI) polluted wastewaters. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.