ISTC Sustainability Seminar: Roles of Nitrifiers in the Removal of Micropollutants during Wastewater Treatment Processes

April 13, 2017 , noon-1pm CST
In person at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (1 E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign) or online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6181978119009400067

Presented by Yujie Men – Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

There are emerging concerns about organic micropollutants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products due to their potential adverse effects on environmental ecosystems and the public health. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are a major sink for down-the-drain chemicals and thus play a key role in their environmental fate. Strong associations have been observed between ammonia oxidization activities and the biotransformation of some micropollutants. However, whether there is a causal relationship between those two remains unclear. Batch scale pure culture and inhibition studies, as well as micropollutant removal investigation for a full scale enhanced nitrification step at local WWTPs have been applied to get a better understanding of roles played by ammonia oxidizers. Various types of evidence indicate essential involvement of nitrifying microorganisms in the biotransformation of certain micropollutants. For above half of the micropollutants investigated, the biotransformation of micropollutants in WWTPs achieved by heterotrophs or a combined contribution of heterotrophs and nitrifiers. The findings provide important insights into the persistency of different micropollutants during biological wastewater treatment processes.

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