Conversion of full-scale wet scrubbers to biotrickling filters for H <inf>2</inf>S control at publicly owned treatment works

David Gabriel, Huub H.J. Cox, Marc A. Deshusses

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Until recently, biological treatment of odors in biofilters or biotrickling filters was thought to require a longer gas contact time than chemical scrubbing, hence bioreactors for air treatment required a larger footprint. This paper discusses the conversion of chemical scrubbers to biological trickling filters. Initially, research was conducted with a laboratory-scale biotrickling filter. An effective open-pore polyurethane packing material was identified and H2S biotreatment performance was quantified. Key technical issues in determining the general suitability of converting wet scrubbers to biotrickling filters were identified, and a generic ten-step conversion procedure was developed. Following the laboratory research, five full-scale chemical scrubbers treating odorous air at the Sanitation District of Orange County, Calif., were converted to biotrickling filters. The original airflow rate was maintained, resulting in a gas contact time as low as 1.6-3.1 s. The converted biotrickling filters demonstrated an excellent capability for treating high H2S concentrations to concentrations below regulatory limits. This study shows outstanding potential for converting chemical scrubbers to biotrickling filters at publicly owned treatment works. © ASCE.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1110-1117
    JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


    • Air pollution
    • Biological treatment
    • Conversion
    • Hydrogen sulfide
    • Odor control
    • Retrofitting
    • Trickling filters


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