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Biodegradation system for VOCs poised for expansion

By Chemical Engineering |

A system that utilizes existing biological wastewater-treatment facilities for destruction of biodegradable volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other organic hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) has been demonstrated at three U.S. petroleum-refining and chemical facilities, and the developer has plans to extend the U.S. patent-pending treatment approach to eight additional facilities in coming months. Environ International Corp. (Arlington, Va.; www.environcorp.com) developed the treatment method, known as VOC BioTreat, as an alternative to incineration or activated-carbon VOC treatment systems. The VOC BioTreat protocol has demonstrated the ability to meet VOC and HAP handling requirements in U.S. state and federal emissions regulations. VOC BioTreat works by piping VOC offgases into an existing wastewater treatment tank that contains activated sludge at depths of greater than 18 ft. Microbes in the tank break down VOCs as they bubble up through the tank. VOC BioTreat can be retrofitted into existing wastewater treatment facilities for somewhat lower capital costs as compared to installing thermal oxidizers or activated-carbon VOC treatment systems, but the annual operating costs are less than 10% of conventional systems. In addition…
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