Envirogen Installs FBR Technology at Nevada Industrial Site

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Envirogen
Envirogen Technologies American Pacific fluidized bed bioreactor

The FBR technology reduces influent concentrations of perchlorate of up to 500 ppm to non-detectable levels prior to surface discharge

Envirogen Technologies Inc. announced the successful start-up of a large-scale fluidized bed bioreactor (FBR) system for American Pacific Corp. (AMPAC), to achieve the biodegradation of perchlorate and other constituents from groundwater in the area of a former manufacturing facility in Henderson, Nev.

The 1.2 million gal per day capacity system replaces a smaller biological system that had been in service since 2006, and utilizes Envirogen’s patented FBR technology in a custom configuration to reduce influent concentrations of perchlorate of up to 500 ppm to non-detectable levels prior to surface discharge.

According to Robert Stark, South region vice president for Envirogen, the AMPAC installation underscores the rising prominence of FBR technology, both for perchlorate remediation and as a sustainable, cost-effective tool for a wide range of groundwater treatment challenges.

“This site presented us with a high-load scenario coupled with the need for trouble-free performance and a low operational burden,” Stark said. “With this FBR installation, we were able to meet AMPAC’s target treatment goals for perchlorate as well as chlorate and nitrate, while fine-tuning the equipment to provide them with the lowest-cost performance possible. Today, we are pushing FBR technology to meet new challenges for treatment efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Its versatility in handling multiple constituents and varying flow characteristics also points to its potential to treat other contaminants, such as selenium, hexavalent chromium or chlorinated solvents. As sustainability becomes an important element in treatment technology selection, we feel strongly that the use of the FBR in groundwater remediation applications will grow.”

According to Dr. Joseph Carleone, president and CEO of AMPAC, the start-up of the new treatment facility represents an important step in the company’s long-term effort to efficiently address perchlorate in groundwater contamination at the former manufacturing site. 

“Following an extensive groundwater characterization effort and the installation and operation of a successful full-scale in-situ biological treatment system, which began operating in 2006, we made the decision to expand the entire groundwater remediation system and, with that change, an FBR based system was the clear choice,” Carleone said. 

The new perchlorate treatment system features two first-stage FBRs and one second-stage FBR, along with an Envirogen H-120 biofilter for odor control. The facility will remove up to 500 ppm perchlorate to non-detectable levels and, depending on the load, treat as much as 800 gpm of groundwater fed into the system from a series of extraction wells.  Envirogen’s advanced process automation provides control of flow rates, electron donor addition and maintenance of an optimal treatment environment within the bioreactors.

Envirogen’s FBR is a fixed-film bioreactor in which biological media is suspended, or fluidized, within the reactor vessel by the upward flow of water through the system. The suspended media provides a large surface area for microbial growth and allows a biomass density several times greater than that of other bioreactor designs under similar loading conditions. Microorganisms in the reactor completely destroy influent perchlorate and other targeted contaminants under anoxic conditions, without generating hazardous waste by-products.

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