Environmental Business Specialists, LLC, Auburn University form partnership on pulp & paper

June 4, 2019
Aim to support North American Pulp & Paper industries wastewater treatment systems.

AUBURN, AL, JUNE 4, 2019 -- With papermills discharging millions of gallons of water per day, it’s incumbent on them to produce high quality effluent that doesn’t negatively impact the environment while meeting all regulatory requirements. Laboratory research conducted by Auburn University and EBS will characterize the performance of biological wastewater treatment systems by differentiating the percentage of the bacterial population that functions acceptably from the population that is impaired or is dead. This information is used to improve bacterial health and thereby minimize the discharge of BOD, TSS, nutrients and potentially toxic compounds.

EBS and Auburn University are partnering to evaluate the source, toxic effects, and frequency of occurrence of various inhibitory chemicals that make their way to the wastewater treatment process during pulp and paper manufacturing. The research will focus on the following questions:

  • Which inhibitory chemicals are present in the biomass?
  • How often and at what level are these chemicals present?
  • To what degree does bioaccumulation occur in the biomass?
  • What is the health of the biomass?
  • What is the effect of each chemical on the metabolism of the biomass?
  • To what degree is the chemical transformed or biodegraded in the biomass?

The inhibition study will be completed under the direction of Dr. Clifford Lange, an Associate Professor at Auburn University in the Department of Civil Engineering, who has considerable experience in biological industrial wastewater treatment. The day-to-day conduct of the laboratory investigation will be performed by a Master of Science student working under Dr. Lange’s supervision.

This twelve-month study will culminate in a detailed technical report that includes estimates of the biodegradation rate, bioaccumulation rate, inhibition threshold, and range of mass observed for each chemical compound. These results will prove helpful in understanding the causes of inhibition of pulp and papermill activated sludge processes. The study’s results will also form the basis of a Graduate Student’s Master of Science Thesis with a goal for publication in one or more technical journals and a presentation at the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC).

Mills desiring a better understanding of how their process affects the activated sludge treatment plant with the goal of improving effectiveness and effluent quality will benefit greatly from participation in this important project. Mills previously or currently utilizing these approaches via EBS or directly with Dr. Lange will automatically be included in the project. Additional mills are invited to participate by submitting samples at least quarterly and as frequently as monthly. Participants will receive detailed reports for each set of samples, as well as copies of the final findings and published documents. All participant names and other information will be confidential.

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