Removal of O-Nitrophenol from Petrochemical Wastewater: Comparison Between SBR and MSBR Biological Reactors

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD. Student, Dept. of Chemistry, College of Science, Yadegar-e-Imam Khomeini (RAH) Shahre-Rey Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assist. Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, College of Science, Yadegar-e-Imam Khomeini (RAH) Shahre-Rey Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


The discharge of wastewater from various industries such as petroleum and petrochemical, pollute water resources. The presence of these pollutants in water resources will cause disorders in the ecosystem and it has various risks to human health. The effluent usually contains organic matter, including phenol and its derivatives. In this study, three different types of reactors were used in the activated sludge process to study the biological removal of o-nitrophenol from the petrochemical industrial effluent. These reactors include Continuous Moving-Bed Sequencing Batch Reactor, Moving-Bed Sequencing Batch Reactor and conventional sequencing batch reactor. For this purpose, the operational indicators of each reactor were investigated and optimized. For MSBR, active sludge volume ratio (30%), aeration flowrate (18 L/min), operation time (4h), pH (7), filler to reactor volume ratio (4.7 %) and SVI (89 ml/g) were considered. Also, For C-MSBR indicators such as initial volumetric flowrate (20 ml/min), aeration flowrate
(12 L/min), filler to reactor volume ratio (5.8 %) and SVI (98 ml/g) were optimized. As SBR is structurally similar to the other reactors, only initial volumetric flowrate was considered (40 ml/min) and based on the results, this reactor has better SVI (88 ml/g) than the other two reactors. Finally, based on the optimized parameters, percentage removal of ortho nitrophenol from a synthesized effluent, analogous to Karoon Petrochemical company effluent, was investigated by C-MSBR. In addition to o-nitrophenol, other chemicals such as Toluene and Benzene were also present. The results show the indicators including ortho nitrophenol percentage removal (84.7%), Chemical Oxidation Demand (COD) (94%), Biochemical Oxidation Demand (94.8%), BOD5/COD (0.57) and SVI (74.45 ml/g) comply with environmental standards and the treated effluent can be used in irrigation and agriculture by addition of one more processing step.


Abdelfattah, I., Ismail, A. A., Sayed, F. A., Almedolab, A. & Aboelghait, K. M. 2016. Biosorption of heavy metals ions in real industrial wastewater using peanut husk as efficient and cost effective adsorbent. Environmental Nanotechnology, Monitoring and Management, 6, 176-183.
Abdelwahab, O., Amin, N. K. & El-Ashtoukhy, E. S. Z. 2009. Electrochemical removal of phenol from oil refinery wastewater. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 163(2-3), 711-716.
Abu-Nada, A., Abdala, A. & Mckay, G. 2021. Removal of phenols and dyes from aqueous solutions using graphene and graphene composite adsorption: a review. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 9(5), 105858.
Abussaud, B., Asmaly, H. A., Ihsanullah, Saleh, T. A., Gupta, V. K., Laoui, T., et al. 2016. Sorption of phenol from waters on activated carbon impregnated with iron oxide, aluminum oxide and titanium oxide. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 213, 351-359.
Arnold, E., Greenberg, L. & Clescori, W. 1992. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater 18th ed. American Public Health Association, Washington, USA.
Benosmane, N., Boutemeur, B., Hamdi, S. M. & Hamdi, M. 2018. Removal of phenol from aqueous solution using polymer inclusion membrane based on mixture of CTA and CA. Applied Water Science, 8(1), 1-16.
Broch-Due, A., Anderson, R. & Kristoffersen, O. 1994. Pilot plant experience with an aerobic moving bed biofilm reactor for treatment of NSSC wastewater. Water Science and Technology, 29(5-6), 283-294.
Dargahi, A., Pirsaheb, M., Savadpour, M. T., Alighadri, M. & Farokhi, M. 2014. Impact of time and temperature on the efficiency of the stabilized pond system in the treatment of sewage. Enviromental Science and Technology, 16(2), 13-24. (In Persian)
Dargahi, A., Sharafi, K., Almasi, A. & Asadi, F. 2015. Effect of biodegradable organic matter concentration on phenol removal rate from oil refinery wastewater using anaerobic pond system. Journal of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, 18(12), 690-700. (In Persian)
El-Ashtoukhy, E. S. Z., El-Taweel, Y. A., Abdelwahab, O. & Nassef, E. 2013. Treatment of petrochemical wastewater containing phenolic compounds by electrocoagulation using a fixed bed electrochemical reactor. International Journal of Electrochemical Science, 8(1), 1534-1550.
Esm Hoseyni, M., Solati Far, S., Mirzanejad, A. & Solati Far, N. 2010. Investigating the methods of water and wastewater treatment in developed countries. Journal of Applied Chemisty, 14, 75. (In Persian)
Gharbani, P., Khosravi, M., M. Tabatabaii, S., Zare, K., Dastmalchi, S. & Mehrizad, A. 2010. Degradation of trace aqueous 4-chloro-2-nitrophenol occurring in pharmaceutical industrial wastewater by ozone. International Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, 7(2), 377-384.
Hameed, B. H., Chin, L. H. & Rengaraj, S. 2008. Adsorption of 4-chlorophenol onto activated carbon prepared from rattan sawdust. Desalination, 225(1-3), 185-198.
Khosravi, M., Rabani, M., Marandi, R. & Alahgholi Ghasri, M. R. 2009. Optimization of effective parameters on bio-logic removal of copper and nickel concentrations using batch reactors with successive operations. Enviromental Science and Technology, 11(3), 179-191. (In Persian)
Lim, J. W., Lim, P. E. & Seng, C. E. 2012. Enhancement of nitrogen removal in moving bed sequencing batch reactor with intermittent aeration during REACT period. Chemical Engineering Journal, 197, 199-203.
Lim, J. W., Lim, P. E., Seng, C. E. & Adnan, R. 2013. Simultaneous 4-chlorophenol and nitrogen removal in moving bed sequencing batch reactors packed with polyurethane foam cubes of various sizes. Bioresour Technology, 129, 485-494.
Lim, J. W., Seng, C. E., Lim, P. E., Ng, S. L. & Sujari, A. N. 2011. Nitrogen removal in moving bed sequencing batch reactor using polyurethane foam cubes of various sizes as carrier materials. Bioresour Technology, 102, 76-83.
Mehrizad, A. & Gharbani, P. 2014. Decontamination of 4-Chloro-2-Nitrophenol from aqueous solution by graphene adsorption: equilibrium, kinetic, and thermodynamic studies. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 23(6), 2111-2116.
Mohammed, S. A. & Hameed, M. S. 2016. Extraction of 4-nitrophenol from aqueous solutions using bulk ionic liquid membranes. International Journal of Current Engineering and Technology, 6, 542-550.
Moussavi, G., Mahmoudi, M. & Barikbin, B. 2009. Biological removal of phenol from strong wastewaters using a novel MSBR. Water Research, 43(5), 1295-1302.
Mubarak, N. M., Sezila, N., Nizamuddin, S., Abdullah, E. C. & Sahu, J. N. 2017. Adsorptive removal of phenol from aqueous solution by using carbon nanotubes and magnetic biochar. Nanoworld Journal, 3(2), 32-37.
Nazari Alavi, A. R., Hashemian, S. J. D. & Khodadadi Moghadam, M. 2003. Wastewater treatment of metalworking industry by discontinuous reactor method with sequential operation. Iranian Chemical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, 22(2), 1-6. (In Persian)
Pasdar, H. & Marandi, R. 2013. Effect of phenol loading on wastewater treatment by activated sludge process. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, 3(11), 121-126.
Raza, W., Lee, J., Raza, N., Luo, Y., Kim, K. H. & Yang, J. 2019. Removal of phenolic compounds from industrial waste water based on membrane-based technologies. Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 71, 1-18.
Roostaei, N. & Tezel, F. 2004. Removal of phenol from aqueous solutions by adsorption. Environmental Management, 70(2), 157-164.
Shirsath, D. S. & Shrivastava, V. S. 2015. Photocatalytic removal of o-nitro phenol from wastewater by novel an eco-friendly magnetic nanoadsorbent. International Journal of Environmental Research, 9(1), 363-372.
Shokri, A. 2015. Degradation of 2-nitrophenol from petrochemical wastewater by ozone. Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, 88(12), 2038-2043.
Shokri, A. 2016. Degradation of 4-Nitrophenol from industrial wastewater by nano catalytic ozonation. International Journal of Nano Dimension, 7(2), 160-167.
Tasic, Z., Gupta, V. & Antonijevic, M. 2014. The mechanism and kinetics of degradation of phenolics in wastewaters using electrochemical oxidation. International Journal of Electrochemical Science, 9(7), 3473-3490.
Turhan, K. & Uzman, S. 2008. Removal of phenol from water using ozone. Desalination, 229(1-3), 257-263.
Ustun, S. & Büyükgüngör, H. 2007. Removal of phenol from aqueous solutions using various biomass. Journal of Biotechnology, 131(1), S74-S97.
Zhang, B., Li, F., Wu, T., Sun, D. & Li, Y. 2015. Adsorption of p-nitrophenol from aqueous solutions using nanographite oxide. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 464, 78-88.
Zularisam, A. W., Ismail, A. F. & Salim, R. 2006. Behaviours of natural organic matter in membrane filtration for surface water treatment a review. Desalination, 194(1-3), 211-231.