Title page for ETD etd-05112010-020223

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Neal, Vance A
URN etd-05112010-020223
Title Effects of copper on nitrification and denitrification of leachate from an abandoned landfill
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Boardman, Gregory D. Committee Chair
Randall, Clifford W. Committee Chair
Hoehn, Robert C. Committee Member
  • Sewage
Date of Defense 1992-07-07
Availability restricted
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of copper on the treatment of an abandoned landfill leachate by a Modified Ludzack Ettinger (MLE) single-sludge, activated sludge treatment system. MLE systems are designed to accomplish nitrification and denitrification, and at least two systems were used: one to which copper was added, and one maintained as a control. The system that did not receive copper additions gave an indication of the treatability of the leachate by an MLE system.

Copper was added at concentrations of 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, and 5.0 mgCu/L in the influent and the sludge age was varied from 8 to 30 day. It was determined that copper did inhibit nitrification and denitrification. A strong linear relationship was shown to exist between the specific copper loading on the system, that is the total copper entering the system within a day divided by the total biomass within the system, and the soluble copper concentration within the system. The adsorption of copper by the activated sludge, and the resulting soluble copper concentration in the mixed liquor, could be generally described by the Freundlich Isotherm.

Intermittent inhibition of nitrification unrelated to copper addition also occurred during treatment of the landfill leachate which was obtained from the abandoned Dixie Caverns Landfill near Roanoke, Virginia. The inhibiting substance was not identified during this study. It did not significantly inhibit denitrification, but did cause elevated effluent suspended solids concentrations. An additional treatment step would be needed for reliable treatment of the leachate.

Copper additions caused inhibition of both nitrification and denitrification. The degree of nitrification and denitrification inhibition was a strong function of the soluble copper to ML VSS ratio in the reactors, i.e., the toxin -to -microorganism (TIM) ratio. Nitrification and denitrification appeared to be equally sensitive to copper. Both were severely inhibited at a soluble copper to ML VSS ratio of 0.001 in aerobic and anoxic reactors, respectively. Nitrosomonas species were more strongly inhibited by copper concentrations than were the Nitrobacter species. The denitrifiers appeared to be as sensitive to copper as the Nitrosomonas species.

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