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This study investigates the influence of four imidazolium ionic liquids (ILs) present in wastewater on the activated sludge process. In addition, experiments with inactivated sludge to assess the capacity of this sorbent to remove ILs from the wastewater were conducted. It occurred that the presence of ionic liquids in wastewater reduces biomass growth and size of the sludge flocs. The strongest effect has been found for IL 6 (1-hexyl-2H-3-methyl-4,5-dimethylimidazolium iodide) with the longest alkyl chain length. Also, the degree of ILs removal increases with the alkyl chain length and decreases with the increase of initial concentration of ILs in wastewater. IL 6 reaches the highest degree of ILs removal from wastewater but inhibits the biomass growth and growth of sludge flocs in a greater extent than other tested compounds. Moreover, it was confirmed that newly synthesized ionic liquids can be adsorbed onto inactivated sludge. IL 6 could be adsorbed in a higher degree than other ionic liquids. This adsorption was described by Langmuir isotherm, whereas adsorption of other ionic liquids was described by Freundlich isotherm.
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