Civil and Environmental Engineering


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Published in Water Research 42:13, pp. 3425–3434 Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Ltd.


Fixed bed biofilm reactors with granular activated carbon (GAC) or glass beads as support media were used to evaluate the influence of short-term (12 h) and long-term (23 days) increases of influent dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations on biological perchlorate removal. The goal was to evaluate the extent by which chemisorption of oxygen to GAC can enhance the stability of biological perchlorate reduction. Baseline influent concentrations were 50 μg/L of perchlorate, 2 mg/L of acetate as C, and 1 mg/L of DO. Perchlorate removal in the glass bead reactor seized immediately after increasing influent DO concentrations from 1 to 4 mg/L since glass beads have no sorptive capacity. In the biologically active carbon (BAC) reactor, chemisorption of oxygen to GAC removed a substantial fraction of the influent DO, and perchlorate removal was maintained during short-term increases of influent DO levels up to 8 mg/L. During long-term exposure to influent DO concentrations of 8.5 mg/L, effluent perchlorate and DO concentrations increased slowly. Subsequent exposure of the BAC reactor bed to low DO concentrations partially regenerated the capacity for oxygen chemisorption. Microbial analyses indicated similar microbial communities in both reactors, which confirmed that the differences in reactor performance during dynamic loading conditions could be attributed to the sorptive properties of GAC. Using a sorptive biofilm support medium can enhance biological perchlorate removal under dynamic loading conditions.