Modelling of a bioflocculant supported dissolved air flotation system for fats oil and grease laden wastewater pretreatment
In the recent past, the poultry industry in South Africa has grown due to an increased demand of poultry products as a result of population growth and improved living standards. Furthermore, this has led to poultry slaughterhouses generating high strength wastewater which is laden with a high concentration of organic and inorganic pollutants from the slaughtering process and sanitation of equipment and facilities. As a result, South Africa has promulgated restrictions and a set of quality standards for effluent discharged into the environment to minimize ecological degradation and human health impact. Hence, there is a need for improved Poultry Slaughterhouse Wastewater (PSW) pre-treatment prior to either discharge into municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) or on-site secondary treatment processes such as anaerobic digesters. Additionally, amongst the pre-treatment methods for Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) laden wastewater, flotation remains the most popular with Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) system being the most applied. However, modelling and optimization of a biological DAF system has never been attempted before in particular for a bioflocculant supported DAF (BioDAF) for PSW pre-treatment. Process modelling and optimization involves process adjustment to optimize influential parameters. In this study, Response Surface Methodology (RSM) was used to develop an empirical model of a BioDAF for pre-treatment of PSW, for which a bioflocculant producer including production conditions, flocculant type and its floc formation mechanism, were identified. Twenty-one (n = 21) microbial strains were isolated from the PSW and their flocculation activity using kaolin clay suspension (4g/L) was quantified, with a mutated Escherichia coli (mE.coli) [accession number LT906474.1], having the highest flocculation activity even in limited nutrient conditions; hence, it was used for further analysis in other experiments. Furthermore, the optimum conditions for bioflocculant production achieved using RSM were pH of 6.5 and 36°C conditions which induced instantaneous bioflocculant production with the highest flocculation activity. The bioflocculant produced by the mE.coli showed the presence of carboxyl/amine, alkyne and hydroxyl functional groups, which was indicative that the bioflocculant contained both polysaccharides and some amino acids.