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There is still great uncertainty about how to determine the probability of a plant being able to remove phosphorus reliably. Most studies focus on the VFA content of the plant influent and define the required VFA anywhere from 3 to 20 mg/L (as COD) per mg phosphorus. This paper discusses alternative methods that rely on substitutes for VFA determination and problems with these methods. The paper continues with a discussion on the VFA potential of influent wastewater and the phenomena that many plants remove phosphorus without an apparent anaerobic zone. In these plants, it appears that where some fermentation of the activated sludge takes place, good phosphorus removal can result. Some explanation is given as to the possible mechanisms at work that could lead to this very satisfactory state of affairs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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