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Mrs. Babitha.M1, Akshaya Kumar.M2, Infanta Chandana.A3, K.M. Vishnu
Mohan4, Manoj Rao.S5
Department Of Civil Engineering, Rajarajeshwari College Of Engineering, Bangalore, India.

Phone no : +91 74067 84115

Postal Address : #24 Thataguni, Thataguni Post, Kanakapura main Road, Bangalore-560082,
Karnataka, India.

Biofiltration is a relatively emerging new technology, applied to wastewater treatment and other toxic compounds. Since the
main purpose of the biofilter is to remove the dissolved organics, the suspended particles are removed in conventional filter
before subjecting the waste water. The parameters that can affect the performance of a biofilter are the characteristics of filter
media, hydraulic and organic loading rate, and filter backwash techniques. The mechanisms, which allow biofilters to work
and which must be controlled to ensure success, are complex. Ultimately, biotransformation converts the contaminant to
biomass, metabolic by-products or carbon dioxide and water. This review paper presents an overview of biofiltration
technologies for the control of water pollutants, functioning, mechanism and its Designed parameters. Biofilter is one of the
most important separation processes that can be employed to remove organic pollutants from air, water, and wastewater.
Even though, it has been used over a century, it is still difficult to explain theoretically all the biological processes occurring
in a biofilter.

Keywords: Bio Filter, Coir, Activated Carbon Balls

1. INTRODUCTION breed up in the stagnant water and the health of the public
will be in danger.
Water is considered as the most important and priceless
commodity on planet Earth. Water on earth moves The principal aim of wastewater treatment is generally to
continually through the water cycle of evaporation and allow human and industrial effluents to be disposed of
transpiration, condensation, precipitation and runoff, usually without danger to human health or unacceptable damage to
reaching the sea. It is one of the most essential thing that is the natural environment. Therefore in the interest of the
required for every living being. In order to develop a healthy community of the town or city it is most essential to collect,
and hygienic environment, water quality should be treat and dispose of all the wastewater of the city in such a
monitored such that it lies within the respective standards. way that it may not cause harm to the people residing in the
town. The extent and the type of treatment required, however
Wastewater is liquid waste discharged by domestic depends on the character and quality of both sewage and
residences, commercial properties, industry, agriculture, sources of disposal available.
which often contains some contaminants that result from the
mixing of wastewater from different sources. Wastewater The Wastewater after treatment may be disposed either into
obtained from various sources need to be treated very a water body such as lakes, streams, river, estuary and ocean
effectively in order to create a hygienic environment. If or into land. It may be used for several purposes such as
proper arrangements for collection, treatment and disposal of conservation, industrial use or reclaimed sewage effluent in
all the waste produce from city or town are not made, they cooling systems, boiler feed, process water, reuse in
will go on accumulating and create a foul condition that the agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, watering of lawns.
safety of the structures such that building, roads will be Wastewater
damaged due to accumulation of wastewater in the
foundations. In addition to this, disease causing bacteria will

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Akshaya et al

2. LITERATURE REVIEW removal of pollutant that would deplete the DO in receiving

Water is vital to the existence of all living organisms, but this Biological treatment is an important and integral part of any
valued resource is increasingly being threatened as human wastewater treatment plant that treats wastewater from either
populations grow and demand more water of high quality for municipality or industry having soluble organic impurities or
domestic purposes and economic activities. Among the a mix of the two types of wastewater sources. The obvious
various environmental challenges of that India is facing this economic advantage, both in terms of capital investment and
century, fresh water scarcity ranks very high. The key operating costs, of biological treatment over other treatment
challenges to better management of the water quality in India processes like chemical oxidation; thermal oxidation etc. has
are temporal and spatial variation of rainfall, improper cemented its place in any integrated wastewater treatment
management of surface runoff , uneven geographic plant affected in quality by anthropogenic influence.
distribution of surface water resources, persistent droughts, Itcomprises liquid waste discharged by domestic residences,
overuse of groundwater, and contamination, drainage, and commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and can
salinization and water quality problems due to treated, encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and
partially treated, and untreated wastewater from urban concentrations. In the most common usage, it refers to the
settlements, industrial establishments, and run-off from the municipal wastewater that contains a broad spectrum of
irrigation sector besides poor management of municipal solid contaminants resulting from the mixing of wastewaters from
waste and animal dung in rural areas. different sources. Wastewater also known as sewage
originates from residential commercial and industrial area.
Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in
quality by anthropogenic influence. It comprises liquid waste 2.1 BIOFLTRATION
discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties,
industry, and/or agriculture and can encompass a wide range Filtration is one of the most important treatment processes
of potential contaminants and concentrations. In the most used in water and wastewater treatment. In water treatment,
common usage, it refers to the municipal wastewater that it is used to purify the surface water for potable use whereas
contains a broad spectrum of contaminants resulting from the in wastewater treatment, the main purpose of filtration is to
mixing of wastewaters from different sources. Wastewater produce effluent of high quality so that it can be reused for
also known as sewage originates from residential commercial various purposes.
and industrial area.
Any type of filter with attached biomass on the filter-media
Wastewater engineering is that branch of environmental can be defined as a biofilter. It can be the trickling filter in
engineering in which the basic principles of science and the wastewater treatment plant, or horizontal rock filter in a
engineering are applied to solving the issues associated with polluted stream, or granular activated carbon (GAC) or sand
the treatment and reuse of wastewater. The ultimate goal of filter in water treatment plant.
wastewater engineering is the protection of public health in a
manner commensurate with environmental, economic, social, Biofilter has been successfully used for air, water, and
and political concerns. When untreated wastewater wastewater treatment. It was first introduced in England in
accumulates and is allowed to go septic, the decomposition 1893 as a trickling filter in wastewater treatment [Metcalf
of the organic matter it contains will lead to nuisance and Eddy, 1991], and since then, it has been successfully
conditions including the production of malodorous gases. In used for the treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater.
addition, untreated wastewater contains numerous pathogenic Originally, biofilter was developed using rock or slag as
microorganisms that dwell in the human intestinal tract. filter media, however at present, several types and shapes of
Wastewater also contains nutrients, which can stimulate the plastic media are also used. There are a number of small
growth of aquatic plants, and may contain toxic compounds package treatment plants with different brand names
or compounds that potentially may be mutagenic or currently available in the market in which different shaped
carcinogenic. For these reasons, the immediate and nuisance- plastic materials are packed as filter media and are mainly
free removal of wastewater from its sources of generation, used for treating small amount of wastewater (e.g. from
followed by treatment, reuse, or dispersal into the household or hotel).
environment is necessary to protect public health and the
environment. Irrespective of its different names usually given based on
operational mode, the basic principle in a biofilter is the
Besides that, the purpose of wastewater treatment is to same: biodegradations of pollutants by the micro-organisms
remove pollutants that can harm the aquatic environment if attached onto the filter media.
they are discharged into it. Because of the deleterious effects
of low dissolved oxygen concentrations on aquatics life, Use of a biofilter in drinking water treatment (especially with
wastewater treatment engineers historically focused on the granular activated carbon as filter media) was felt necessary
only after the discovery of the re-growth of micro organisms
in water distribution pipe lines few decades ago. It has been

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Akshaya et al

observed that the inner surface of water distribution pipelines as a support layer for the sand and GAC. It also prohibits the
carrying potable water is coated with layers of biomass in sand from obstructing the under drains.
few years of service period [Van der Kooij et al., 1982;
LeChevallier and Lowry, 1990; Bouwer and Crowe, 1988]. 3.1.2 Sand
The biodegradable organic matter (BOM), NH4+, Fe2+, Mn2+,
NO2 , dissolved H2 and several other reduced species of Sand is used for the removal of suspended matter, as well as
sulfur are the most pertinent components that can cause floating sinkable particles. The waste water flows vertically
bacterial regrowth on the water distribution pipelines through a fine bed of sand. Particles are removed by the way
[Rittmann and Huck, 1989]. Due to the “regrowth” of the of absorption. It’s size varies from 2.36-4.75mm. This layer
microbial mass in the pipelines, the drinking water is of sand laid above the gravel layers.
considered biologically not stable. Even though there is no
direct evidence of its instant health and hazardous side 3.1.3 Activated Carbon
effects, use of such drinking water in long run cannot be
assured to be safe. Besides the by-products of chlorine This are versatile adsorbents. Their adsorptive properties are
disinfection, disinfections by-products (DBPs) are often due to their high surface area, a microporous structure, and
carcinogenic and harmful. high degree of surface reactivity. They are, used, therefore,
to purify, decolorized, deodorized, dechlorinate, separate,
Table 2.0 - Estimated global production volume averages and concentrate in order to prevent recovery and to filter
of different natural fi bres (in million metric tons per remove or modify the harmfull constituents from gases and
year average over the recent years). liquid solutions. Consiquently, activated carbon adsorption is
of interest to many econommic sectors and concern areas
diverse as food pharamacetical, chemical, petroluem, nuclear,
automobiles, and vacuum industries as well as for the
treatment of drinking water, industrial and urban waste water
and industrial flue gases.

3.1.4 Coconut Coir

Coconut Fiber is an extremely light and a porosity material,

it is a material with a high rate of adsorption of odors. For
use as a single filter it is necessary to remove the bed
periodically to prevent compaction. The bio-filter coir can
last 3 to 6 years depending on the treatment suffered by the


Laboratory scale waste water treatment system was designed

for 10 liters capacity. Filtration unit of 27 liters capacity
containing bio balls (activated carbon) pebbles/rock and
storing unit for treated waste water of 27 liters capacity.The
easily available and natural materials were used such as bio
balls (activated carbon) , pebbles/rock which is the natural
3.0 MATERIALS AND METHODOLOGY materials used for experiment. The gravitational flow was
used for flow of water from waste water unit to storing unit
3.1 MATERIALS of treated waste water.The samples were collected from
Textile Industry for analysis. These samples are analysed by
3.1.1Gravel standard method at laboratory.The parameters such as
The primary roles of gravel in the bio-sand filter is to prevent Chlorides, Acidity, Alkalinity,Total hardness, Total
suspended solids (TSS) ,Total dissolved solids (TDS),
clogging of the PVC pipe with sand. For house hold
Chemical oxygen demand (COD), Biolchemical oxygen
intermitted sand filter, two layer of gravels are usually demand (BOD), pH are determined from waste water and
employed: on the bottom a 5cm layer of 10-20mm gravel. treated water sample for the study of waste water treatment
Next 5cm layer consists of 6-10mm gravel. The system Bio-filters have three separate layers bio balls, sand,
gravels (optional , depending on under drain selection) serves gravel. In this process, testing facilities, experimental
procedures and experimental programs are included. Design
of experimental set up is done based on the basic desing of

Department of Civil Engineering RRCE
Akshaya et al

biofilter. As per the literature review the desing of set-up is

done. The fig showa the experimental setup of bio-filter with ACTI
activated carbons. VATE

pH 7.2 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5

30 32.4 32.3 32.69 33.8


BOD 252 209.5 180.17 149.1 107.83

100 82.6 70.98 57.3 42.3

pH 7.2 1040.
TSS 2600 2000 1392.6 898.86
TDS 500 385 353.8 292.9 240.92
COD 1200 mg/l
850 760 674.3 576.4 352
BOD 252 mg/l ES

TURBIDITY 100 mg/l

TSS 2600 mg/l

TDS 500 mg/l

CHLORIDES 850 mg/l

The above values were obtained by testing raw silk reeling

wastewater. And Grab samples were collected in plastic cans
rinsed with distilled water. Sample was collected from the
open drain channels, in SSM Silk Reeling Industry

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Akshaya et al

 Along with conventional filter media 5cm layer of  M. Campinas, E. Mesquita, M.J. Rosa “Using activated
activated carbon balls are used carbon based technologies for removal of emerging
contaminants from wastewater”.
 The carbon balls are versatile adsorbent. Their
adsorptive properties are due to their high surface area a  Christian Baresel, Mila harding And Johan Fang
micro porous structure, and high degree of surface “Ultrafiltration/Granulated Active Carbon- Biofilter:
reactivity. Efficient Removal of a Broad Range of Micro
 They are used therefore, to purify, decolorize, deodorize,
dechlorinate, separate and concentrate in order to  Suprihatin, Bunga Cahyaputri, Muhammad Romli “Use
prevent recovery and to remove the harmfull of biofilter as pre-treatment of polluted river water for
constituents drinking water supply”.

Considerable reduction in BOD, COD, chlorides were
achieved.The removal efficiency of BOD and COD by using
Conventional filter bed as filter media was found to be
17.93%. The removal efficiency of BOD and COD by using
Conventional filter bed and Coconut Coir as filter media was
found to be 30.35%. The removal efficiency of BOD and
COD by using Conventional filter bed and Activated carbon
balls as filter media was found to be 42.96%. The removal
efficiency of BOD and COD by using Conventional filter
bed and Activated carbon balls with Coconut Coir as filter
media was found to be 58%. The treated wastewater can be
used for gardening and other domestic purposes like washing
and cleaning purposes. The Activated Carbon Balls is an
renewable resource.


Any achievement, be it scholastic or otherwise does not depend

solely on the individual efforts but on the guidance,
encouragement and cooperation of intellectuals, elders and
friends. A number of personalities, in their own capacities have
helped me in carrying out this project work. I would like to take
this opportunity to thank them all.
I thank my Parents, and all the teaching and non-teaching
faculty members of Department of Civil Engineering for
their constant support and encouragement. Last, but not the
least, I would like to thank my friends who provided me with
valuable suggestions to my work during project work.


 Gopan Mukkulath and Santosh G. Thampi

“Biodegradation of Coir Geotextiles Attached Media in
Aerobic Biological Wastewater Treatment”.
 Nashita Moona, Kathleen R. Murphy, Mia Bondelind
“Partial renewal of granular activated carbon biofilters
for improved drinking water treatment”.
 Durgananda Singh Chaudhary, Saravanamuthu
Vigneswaran “Biofilter in Water and Wastewater

Department of Civil Engineering RRCE