Rapid and Reliable Startup of Biological Wastewater Treatment Systems in Space



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49th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The development of a stable, robust, and efficient biological wastewater treatment system for use in space requires development of methods and processes to rapidly and reliably startup the system. This is necessary not only for initial startup of the system and reactivation after a long period of dormancy but also to reset a system that has failed. A unique consortium of organisms specially designed to remove organic carbon and nitrogen using minimal energy and consumables was evaluated for this project. The wastewater treatment systems using these organisms performed well, attaining up to 95% removal of organic carbon and nitrogen Additionally, methods to preserve the organisms for long periods of time and rapidly restart the treatment system were investigated. Two methods were evaluated: Freeze-drying of organisms and induced dormancy. Each method performed well with rapid and reliable startup of the wastewater treatment systems. This paper will discuss the testing and development of a biological wastewater treatment system that can be rapidly and reliably activated and used to remove high levels of organic carbon and nitrogen. The presentation will cover two years of testing of various refinements of the process as well as noting the development of this technology for use in municipal and agriculture wastewater treatment systems.


Bill Cumbie, Pancopia, Inc., USA
John Whitelaw, Pancopia, Inc., USA
Fei Dai, Pancopia, Inc., USA
Suzanne Zaremski, Pancopia, Inc., USA
Kevin Gilmore, Bucknell University, USA
Matias Vanotti, United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS/USDA), USA
Charles Bott, HRSD, USA
ICES303: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Water Recovery & Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems as held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 07 July 2019 through 11 July 2019.


Wastewater, Biological Treatment, Water Recycling, Rapid Startup, Anammox