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Not so fast! The impact of recalcitrant phosphorus on the ability to meet low phosphorus limits

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Three state-of-the-art tertiary phosphorus removal technologies were evaluated at Marlborough, Massachusetts' Westerly wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) for 8 days in May 2007. The objectives of the pilot study were to determine (1) whether the technologies could satisfy the new National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (NPDES) permit limit of 0.1 mg/L TP or lower during typical influent conditions, and (2) if the technologies could decrease the intermittently high concentrations of dissolved acid-hydrolyzable and organic phosphorus fractions that are seen passing through the plant during atypical influent conditions.

Such atypical influent conditions were experienced during the pilot, when dissolved acidhydrolyzable and organic phosphorus fractions as high as 0.58 mg/L P were observed in the pilot unit effluents. These fractions were minimally responsive to the removal mechanisms employed by the technologies tested, with less than 10% being removed. Such factors should be considered when attempting to remove phosphorus from wastewater.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2008

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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