Selenite containing wastewaters can be treated in activated sludge systems, where the total selenium is removed from the wastewater by the formation of elemental selenium nanoparticles, which are trapped in the biomass. No studies have been carried out so far on the characterization of selenium fed activated sludge flocs, which is important for the development of this novel selenium removal process. This study showed that more than 94% of the trapped selenium in activated sludge flocs is in the form of elemental selenium, both as amorphous/monoclinic selenium nanospheres and trigonal selenium nanorods. The entrapment of the elemental selenium nanoparticles in the selenium fed activated sludge flocs leads to faster settling rates, higher hydrophilicity and poorer dewaterability compared to the control activated sludge (i.e., not fed with selenite). The selenium fed activated sludge showed a less negative surface charge density as compared to the control activated sludge. The presence of trapped elemental selenium nanoparticles further affected the spatial distribution of Al and Mg in the activated sludge flocs. This study demonstrated that the formation and subsequent trapping of elemental selenium nanoparticles in the activated sludge flocs affects their physicochemical properties.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis