Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Gordon Lewandowski

Second Advisor

Dana E. Knox

Third Advisor

Basil Baltzis


Three methods were used to measure the activity of mixed liquor from the Livingston, N.J. municipal wastewater treatment plant on exposure to phenol. The three methods were, substrate removal rate (SRR), dissolved oxygen uptake rate (DOUR), and the dye reduction rate (DRR). Parameters from each test were compared for reproducibility and ease of determination. The SRR test gave the most reproducible results, while the DOUR test was the least reproducible. Although the reproducibility of the DRR test was close to that of the SRR test, the DRR was more time consuming and required a greater degree of expertise and training.

During the course of this work, a DRR procedure was developed, which is a substantial improvement over existing methodologies.

Standard tests for biomass concentration (mixed liquor suspended solids and bacterial cell counts) were also run on three mixed liquors: from the Livingston, PVSC and Rahway municipal treatment plants. The results of these tests were compared to the respective rates of biodegradation of phenol. This showed that no correlation existed between standard biomass measurements and SRR for the treatment plants studied.

The SRR activity test, using phenol as a model compound, is recommended as the standard mixed liquor activity test to use in biodegradation studies of hazardous chemicals.



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