Agricultural wastewater treatment using oil palm waste activated hydrochar for reuse in plant irrigation : synthesis, characterization, and process optimization

Jagaba, Ahmad Hussaini and Bashir, Faizah Mohammed and Lawal, Ibrahim Mohammed and Usman, Abdullahi Kilaco and Yaro, Nura Shehu Aliyu and Birniwa, Abdullahi Haruna and Hamdoun, Haifa Youssef and Shannan, Nahla M. (2023) Agricultural wastewater treatment using oil palm waste activated hydrochar for reuse in plant irrigation : synthesis, characterization, and process optimization. Agriculture, 13 (8). 1531. ISSN 2077-0472 (

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The best possible use of natural resources and the large amounts of trash produced by industrial and human activity is necessary for sustainable development. Due to the threat of global climate change and other environmental challenges, waste management systems are changing, leading to more instances of water resource management. The waste generated must be controlled from a sustainability point of view. Typically, the conventional disposal of Agricultural Wastewater (AW) and biomass can be achieved by recycling, reusing, and converting them into a variety of green products. To improve the AW quality for the purposes of environmental sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 and 14, dealing with clean water, sanitation, and life below water, are very important goals. Therefore, the present investigation evaluates the effectiveness of a Bench-scale Activated Sludge Reactor (BASR) system for AW treatment. The BASR was designed to focus on getting the maximum possible utilization out of a biosorbent derived from oil palm waste activated hydrochar (OPAH). This is in accordance with SDG 9, which targets inorganic and organic waste utilization for added value. An experiment was developed using the Response Surface Methodology (RSM). A Hydraulic Retention Time (HRT) of 1–3 days was used in the bioreactor’s setup and operation, and Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids (MLSS) concentrations of 4000–6000 mg/L were used. BASR was fed with AW with initial mean concentrations of 4486 ± 5.63 mg/L and 6649 ± 3.48 for the five-day Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) experiments, respectively. The results obtained showed that maximum reductions of 84.66% and 72.07% were recorded for BOD5 and COD, respectively. Through RSM optimization, the greatest reductions in the amounts of organic materials were achieved with a 2-day HRT and an MLSS dosage of 5000 mg/L. Substrate elimination thresholds were assessed using the first-order, the Grau second-order, and the modified Stover–Kincannon models. The reported observations were found to be perfectly fit by the modified Stover–Kincannon model, with high R2 values of 0.9908 and 0.9931 for BOD5 and COD, respectively. As a result, the model may be used to design the BASR system and forecast how the reactor would behave. The findings from this study suggest that the developed OPAH has promising potential to be applied as eco-friendly material for the removal of BOD5 and COD from AW. Consequently, the study findings additionally possess the ability to address SDGs 6, 9, and 14, in order to fulfil the United Nations (UN) goals through 2030.