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Phosphorous Requirements in a Post Denitrification MBBR at a Combined Limit of Technology Nitrogen and Phosphorous Plant

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A Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) post denitrification pilot was implemented at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP). The objective was to assess the impact of phosphorus (P) on the denitrification process and compliance risk related to the effluent total phosphorus limit of 0.18 mg/L. The MBBR P requirements were assessed during both warm (22°C) and cold (13°C) operating conditions. P limitation impacts were not observed during steady state warm temperature operations, even after four weeks but were observed immediately (within a day) as the temperature decreased, as demonstrated by elevated effluent NOx-N (especially nitrite) concentrations, and remained poor for the 2 week cold test period. The pilot train operating with sufficient P continued to perform well during even as the temperatures decrease, averaging 91% NOx-N removal. NOx-N effluent concentrations during the warm period were 0.4 mg/L (92% NOx-N removal) in P-unlimited and 0.6 mg/L (86% NOx-N removal) in the P-limited train. Significant performance degradation was observed in the Plimited train during the cold period, with an average effluent NOx-N of 4.5 mg/L, while the train operating with sufficient P did not demonstrate a significant degradation in performance (average effluent NOx-N = 0.7 mg/L). The findings of this study imply that P-limited effects become apparent as the wastewater temperatures begin to decrease but during periods where the temperature and loadings are quite stable and the biomass is well established, P limitations are not apparent. The implications for full scale operations are that supplemental P may be required as significant changes in temperature or loading occur to support increased biomass growth. However, during stable operation the process does not demonstrate P limitations even if the effluent OP concentrations are almost non-detect.
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Keywords: ENR; Limit of Technology (LOT); Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR); Phosphorus limitation; Post denitrification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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