A novel hybrid concept for implementation in drinking water treatment targets micropollutant removal by combining membrane filtration with biodegradation

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  • Ole Hylling
  • M. Nikbakht Fini, Aalborg University
  • ,
  • Lea Ellegaard-Jensen
  • Jens Muff, Aalborg University
  • ,
  • Henrik Tækker Madsen, Aalborg University, Saltkraft Aps
  • ,
  • Jens Aamand, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland
  • ,
  • Lars Hestbjerg Hansen, University of Copenhagen

Groundwater extracted for drinking water production is commonly treated by aeration and sand filtration. However, this simple treatment is typically unable to remove pesticide residues. As a solution, bioaugmentation of sand filter units (i.e., the addition of specific degrader strains) has been proposed as an alternative “green” technology for targeted pesticide removal. However, the introduced degraders are challenged by (i) micropollutant levels of target residue, (ii) the oligotrophic environment and (iii) competition and predation by the native microorganisms, leading to loss of population and degradation potential. To overcome these challenges, we propose the introduction of a novel hybrid treatment step to the overall treatment process in which reverse osmosis filtration and biodegradation are combined to remove a target micropollutant. Here, the reverse osmosis produces a concentrated retentate that will act as a feed to a dedicated biofilter unit, intended to promote biodegradation potential and stability of an introduced degrader. Subsequently, the purified retentate will be re-mixed with the permeate from reverse osmosis, for re-mineralization and downstream consumption. In our study, we investigated the effect of reverse osmosis retentates on the degradation potential of an introduced degrader. This paper provides the first promising results of this hybrid concept using the 2,6-dichlorobenzamide (BAM)-degrading bacteria Aminobacter sp. MSH1 in batch experiments, spiked with radiolabeled BAM. The results showed an increased degradation potential of MSH1 in retentate waters versus untreated water. Colony-forming units and qPCR showed a stable MSH1 population, despite higher concentrations of salts and metals, and increased growth of native bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133710
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

    Research areas

  • 2,6-Dichlorobenzamide (BAM), Biodegradation, Drinking water treatment, Membrane filtration, Microbial biotechnology, Pesticide removal

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