The microbiological destruction of thiocyanate in activated sludge plants treating coke oven effluent


The treatment of effluents produced during the manufacture of metallurgical coke is normally carried out using the activated sludge process. The efficiency of activated sludges in purifying coke oven effluent depends largely on the maintenance of species of micro-organisms which destroy thiocyanate. The composition, production, toxicity and treatment of coke oven effluent at Corby steelworks are described. A review is presented which follows the progress made towards identifying and monitoring the species of bacteria which destroy thiocyanate in biological treatment plants purifying coke oven effluents. In the present study a search for bacteria capable of destroying thiocyanate led to the isolation of a species of bacteria, identified as Pseudomonas putida, which destroyed thiocyanate in the presence of succinate; this species had not previously been reported to use thiocyanate. Washed cell suspensions of P. putida destroyed phenol and thiocyanate simultaneously and thiocyanate destruction was not suppressed by pyridine, aniline or catechol at the highest concentrations normally encountered in coke oven effluent. The isolate has been included, as N.C.I.B. 11198, in the National Collection of Industrial Bacteria, Torrey Research Station, Aberdeen. Three other isolates, identified as Achromobacter sp., Thiobacillus thioparus and T. denitrificans, were also confirmed to destroy thi.ocyanate. A technique has been developed for monitoring populations of different species of bacteria in activated sludges. Application of this technique to laboratory scale and full scale treatment plants at Corby showed that thiobacilli were usually not detected; thiobacilli were el~inated during the commissioning period of the full scale plant. However experiments using a laboratory scale plant indicated that during a period of three weeks an increase in the numbers of thiobacilli might have contributed to an improvement in plant performance. Factors which might have facilitated the development of thiobacilli are discussed. Large numbers of fluorescent pseudomonads capable of using thiocyanate were sometimes detected in the laboratory scale plant. The possibility is considered that catechol or other organic compounds in the feed-liquor might have stimulated fluorescent pseudmonads. Experiments using the laboratory scale plant confirmed that deteriorations in the efficiency of thiocyanate destruction were sometimes caused by bulking sludges, due to the excessive growth of fungal floes. Increased dilution of the coke oven effluent was a successful remedy to this difficulty. The optimum operating conditions recommended by the manufacturer of the full scale activated sludge plant at Corby are assessed and the role of bacterial monitoring in a programme of regular monitoring tests is discussed in relation to the operation of activated sludge plants treating coke oven effluents.

Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: microbiological destruction,thiocyanate,activated sludge plants,coke oven effluent
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:05
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2011 14:35
Completed Date: 1975
Authors: Hiam, Anthony G.


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