Vermifilter technogy for industrial waste water treatment - question about substrate

  • Arthur
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  • Environmental engineer, industrial waste water treatment, water resources management
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water quality

I am working with vermifilter technogy for industrial waste water treatment. I have a specific problems with the subtrate or compost whre the earthworms live. When the water is running through the substrate filter it dilutes high quatities of the soil composition and the final result is a water with high concentration of disolved solids. Although other water quatity parameters are very fine more than 70% removal, like COD, BOD5.
I would appreciate if someone would give some advise or idea of what kind of sustrate or vermicast can I use. I mean a substrate where the earthworms can live and at the same time obtain the hydraulic retention time needed for adecuate water treatment. In orther words I would need an adecuate substrate to avoid the dilution of soil particles into the treated water.
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  • goeco
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Re: water quality

Hi Arthur, what exactly is the substrate you are using? Could you also describe what kind of industrial wastewater you are treating?
cheers
Dean

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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  • Arthur
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Re: water quality

Hi Dean,

Thank you for the post, regarding the soil subtrate I'm using is a pine residues decomposed with bacteria and stabilised, has a dark brown color. The waste water comes from a cosmetic industry; the washing containers from shampoo, body cream, cologne, etc.
The color after treatment has a yellowish color that comes from the dilution of soil subtrate.
The solution to the problem is to find the right substrate wich avoid dilution of substrate and at the same time gives the enough hidraulic retention time in order to allow the earthworms to work.
Regards
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  • fppirco
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Re: water quality

Hi Arthur
I think in the bioremediation process as wastewater technology, use of vermiculture or bacteria, something is crucial. To what extent bioagent present in the substrate (Matrix) could tolerate environment variations, particularly PH and temperature? Sudden shock or immediate sever change certainly devaste bio ecosystem as main system player if you enter cosmetic residues you must be sure of PH and Temperature and I guess for washing cream preparation machines you may use acid or base (NaOH) as cleaners. These are very lethal for microorganisms such as worm or bacteria completely different from BOD and COD criteria. This is my deduction but I am sure experienced researchers present in this forum will express their comments.

Thank you
Mohammad

Researcher and consultant
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  • goeco
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Re: water quality

Hi Arthur,
I would suggest that the composted pine residue has a high content of tannins which are colouring the effluent. If so, this will decrease over time as the tannins are leached from the substrate.
Keep in mind its not the worms doing all the work, but the bacteria attached to the media. These require organic substances, which I assume are present in your influent because it has a high BOD. The bacteria degrade the organics and the worms graze the bacteria. So worms are not necessary at first, don't be in any hurry to establish these.
I don't quite understand what you mean "dilution of substrate". Please clarify, your substrate should be fixed in place with some kind of textile that holds it in place but allows water to flow through. Please provide more detail of your reactor design.
cheers
Dean

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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  • Arthur
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Re: water quality

Hi Dean,
Right the color decrease over time while water is running and so the dissolved solids
The organic / inorganic substances, which are present in the influent are supposed to be eliminated by the worms, yes trough the food chain as you describe. I think at first instance the whole system as a black box, especially as I don't have much information about bacteria but about the worms.
I mean "dilution of substrate" as you better describe " leached from the substrate" .
The bilogical substrate is fixed on top of a tank 1m diameter and 1m deep. Is hold by a solid substrate (stones, gravel and sand) on the botom that allows water to flow through.
This kind of reactor is oposite to the normal worm reactor for the domestic waste water treatment , I mean the worms are in a hostile media, and are supposed to live or work +- 6 months before I would have to change change the substrate again. There are another cases where the water is less agresive as the one from milk factory,etc.

Regards
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