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Investigation of the Nitrate Half Saturation Constant for Denitrification at the Blue Plains AWTP

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A few advanced wastewater treatment plants (AWTPs) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed use biological denitrification processes with methanol as the external carbon source to achieve low effluent total nitrogen concentrations. The objective of this research was to get a better understanding of the kinetic parameters of the methanol utilizing heterotrophic denitrifying bacteria. Experimental studies were conducted to determine the specific denitrification rates (SDNR) and nitrate half saturation coefficient (KS) values for the Blue Plains (BP) AWTP in Washington, DC. A few tests were also conducted for samples obtained from the Alexandria Sanitation Authority (ASA) AWTP in Virginia. A Challenge AER-200 Respirometer system was used to conduct these tests on mixed liquors taken from the anoxic denitrification zones of the AWTPs using the suspended growth activated sludge process. The maximum specific denitrification rates (SDNR) were found to be in the range of 3.5 to 8.9 mg/gm MLVSS/ hr for temperatures from 12°–25.5° C for samples obtained from BP. A higher temperature resulted in higher SDNRs. The average values of nitrate half saturation constant obtained using the nitrate limiting tests (with excess COD present) conducted using respirometery for the same temperature intervals were estimated between 0.02 and 1.9 mg/L.
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Keywords: Denitrification; half saturation constant; methanol; respirometer; specific denitrification rate; temperature

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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