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Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), waste load allocations (WLAs), and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for total nitrogen (TN) generally assume that all nitrogen in the effluent is equally available for uptake by aquatic biota and do not distinguish between organic and inorganic forms of nitrogen. Because many wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) employ biological nutrient removal systems, including nitrification/denitrification for inorganic nitrogen removal, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) can comprise a significant TN in the effluent. Removal of this seemingly refractory DON requires expensive advanced treatment. An example of Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) facing this dilemma is the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) in Reno, Nevada, which discharges to the Truckee River. This paper discusses the challenges TMWRF is facing related to DON, briefly describes DON treatability and fate studies performed at TMWRF, and explains the approach and preliminary results of DON bioavailability studies conducted to determine the impacts of TMWRF effluent DON on the Truckee River.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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