Clearing the Air, Biologically

by Joseph S. Devinny, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg.; Univ. of Southern California,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 9, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article


Using biofilters to reduce air pollution emitted from publicly owned treatment works is becoming more popular as owners realize how effective the systems are. The process cleans the air by passing it through a biofilter packed with a damp, porous medium that supports a vigorous culture of microorganisms. Contaminants dissolve in the water and are degraded by bacteria and fungi. Though they are limited to treating pollutants that can be transformed biologically, the filters work well on large volumes of air with low concentrations of contaminants. In addition, the filters do not require fuel, and routine operation of the systems produces no waste for disposal. Field tests of the systems show they are generally effective as long as the medium is well-maintained.

Subject Headings: Biological processes | Air pollution | Pollutants | Microbes | Filtration | Filters | Field tests

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