Use of Biostimulants and Buffers for Upset Recovery in Paper Mill Wastewater Systems

By Heather Jennings, PE

Industrial pulp and paper wastewater is considered one of the more challenging waters to treat using biological methods, which depend on microbial activity to effectively remediate the wastewater.

Wastewater treatment systems are often influenced/impacted by increased hydraulic and/or COD (chemical oxygen demand) loading as mills add new chemicals or otherwise modify mill operations. These events oftentimes inhibit the wastewater microbial activity, causing “upsets” and, potentially, discharge-limit violations. However, providing the necessary biostimulants and buffers to the microbial system—as we describe in this case study from a paper mill in China—can significantly improve system-upset recovery time and overall operational stability.

To test this process, two specific Probiotic Solutions® liquid bioremediation products were used to address process upsets. We found that this treatment approach improved floc formation—with larger quantities of Vorticellidae and with smaller quantities of rotifers and various other types of protozoans and metazoans—and led to complete system recovery and overall operational stability just one month after application. This biological treatment improved, buffered, diversified, and strengthened the microbiology in the system, which led to improved COD removal and settling and, of course, the main objective of improved water clarity and quality.

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