Title page for ETD etd-03082003-152301

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McInnis, Jeffrey A.
URN etd-03082003-152301
Title Biodegradation and Dewatering of an Industrial Waste Oil
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Love, Nancy G. Committee Chair
Novak, John T. Committee Member
Widdowson, Mark A. Committee Member
  • waste oil
  • biodegradation
  • bioaugmentation
  • dewaterability
  • synthetic surfactant Tween-80
Date of Defense 2003-02-06
Availability restricted
Waste oil generated from industrial operations at a diesel locomotive maintenance facility was investigated to establish its treatability and potential volume reduction. The waste oil and water mixture separated into four distinct layers; free oil, emulsified oil, weathered oil, and wastewater. The research was conducted in a series of three batch experiments and focused on the emulsified and weathered oils. The waste oil was aerobically treated in nutrient amended, 55 gallon (208 L) drums for 38 to 42 days in 10 and 20 % mixtures with sufficient air for mixing and oxygen. Biodegradation, and the role of a synthetic surfactant in promoting biodegradation, was measured using chemical oxygen demand (COD), fluorescein diacetate (FDA), and gas chromatography (GC) analyses with extractable material. Dewatering of biodegraded oil was measured using capillary suction test (CST), time to filter (TTF), and percent cake solids.

Batch 1 examined the role of bioaugmentation by comparing a 10% waste oil mixture that was augmented with a mixture of hydrocarbon degraders to a 10 % mixture of waste oil with no bioaugmentation. Final COD reductions were 59 (± 9) and 38 (±3) % for the bioaugmented and non-bioaugmented reactors, respectively. Chromatographs showed significant reduction in the abundance of peaks by the end of the experiment for both reactors. Overall results suggested that there was no significant difference in biodegradation capabilities between the amended and native microorganisms.

Batch 2 was conducted to determine if a synthetic surfactant (Tween-80) could enhance biodegradation of a 10 % waste oil mixture. The surfactant-amended reactor showed COD reduction 3 days before the non-surfactant-amended reactor. Chromatographs showed similar results for both reactors with the non-surfactant-amended reactor showing slightly better degradation by the end of the experiment. The total COD reduction by the end of the experiment was the same in both (R1: 85 ± 20%, R2: 84 ± 16 %), suggesting that exogenous surfactant addition did not have a long-term impact in the biodegradation of the waste oil.

Batch 3 examined the effect of different oil phases and concentrations on biodegradation and the dewatering characteristics of post-biodegraded waste oil. The 20 % weathered and emulsified waste oil mixture showed a clear delay in COD reduction (no notable reduction until day 24) compared to the 10 % weathered waste oil mixture. The final COD reductions were the same (R1: 48 ± 13%, R2: 49, ± 23 %). Chromatographs showed similar results for both reactors and indicated that degradation of the waste oil occurred in both reactors. The data suggest that the 20 % waste oil mixture can be degraded to the same extent as the 10 % mixture in 38 days.

Dewatering characteristics, as measured by CST, were poor for the 20 % post-biodegraded combined waste oil mixture without conditioning. Conditioning with alum or ferric chloride substantially improved dewatering of the waste oil for the 20 % mixture but was of limited benefit for the 10 % mixture. Percent cake solids for conditioned 10 % post-biodegraded waste oil mixture was 44 (± 0.3) to 50 (± 1.7) % and 34 (± 0.3) to 50 (± 1.8) % for the 20 % mixture. The cake solids for the unconditioned 10 % mixture was 50 to 65 % and 54 to 68 % for the 20 % mixture. The higher percent cake solids for the unconditioned 20 % mixture was countered by the very high TTF (up to 30 min. to filter 50 mL) and the inability to dewater the sludge during the last five sampling events. Conditioning appeared to have a limited effect on the dewatering properties of the 10 % mixture.

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