THE BIOAVAILABILITY OF DISSOLVED ORGANIC NITROGEN FROM BNR TREATMENT PLANTS: THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH AND POLICY ISSUES

Authors: Garvey, Elisa; Chavan, Seema; McDonald, Steve

Source: Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation, WEFTEC 2004: Session 71 through Session 80 , pp. 54-60(7)

Publisher: Water Environment Federation

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Abstract:

Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), waste load allocations (WLAs), and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for total nitrogen (TN) generally 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. While it is generally accepted that organic nitrogen is much less bioavailable than inorganic nitrogen, there has been significantly less research on the treatment of organic nitrogen and its fate in the environment. As more stringent regulations of nitrogen are imposed on point sources (e.g. WWTPs), the knowledge gap on the fate of wastewater derived organic nitrogen needs to be addressed. A study of wastewater derived DON was conducted at a WWTP that employs nitrification/denitrification processes. Study results suggested that a portion of the wastewater derived DON was non-bioavailable. An overview of the evolution of wastewater treatment processes, the relevant regulatory policies, and initiatives, the bioavailablity study results and future directions in developing defensible scientific data are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864704784132319

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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