Hydrogen-based, hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor for reduction of perchlorate and other oxidized contamitants

R. Nerenberg, B. E. Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Many oxidized pollutants, such as nitrate, perchlorate, bromate, and chlorinated solvents, can be microbially reduced to less toxic or less soluble forms. For drinking water treatment, an electron donor must be added. Hydrogen is an ideal electron donor, as it is non-toxic, inexpensive, and sparsely soluble. We tested a hydrogen-based, hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) for reduction of perchlorate, bromate, chlorate, chlorite, chromate, sellenate, sellenite, and dichloromethane. The influent included 5 mg/L nitrate or 8 mg/L oxygen as a primary electron accepting substrate, plus 1 mg/L of the contaminant. The mixed-culture reactor was operated at a pH of 7 and with a 25 minute hydraulic detention time. High recirculation rates provided completely mixed conditions. The objective was to screen for the reduction of each contaminant. The tests were short-term, without allowing time for the reactor to adapt to the contaminants. Nitrate and oxygen were reduced by over 99 percent for all tests. Removals for the contaminants ranged from a minimum of 29% for chlorate to over 95% for bromate. Results show that the tested contaminants can be removed as secondary substrates in an MBfR, and that the MBfR may be suitable for treating these and other oxidized contaminants in drinking water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilm reactor
  • Denitrification
  • Hollow-fiber membrane
  • Hydrogen
  • Secondary substrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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