Recently, the State of Florida adopted new rules requiring elimination of open ocean outfalls as wastewater treatment plant effluent management methods by year 2025. The rules require upgrading these WWTPs to comply with effluent TSS, BOD5, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus
limits of 5, 5, 3, and 1 mg/L, respectively by 2018 or implementation of alternative treatment and management practices resulting in an equivalent mass loading reduction. The North Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (NRWWTP) in Broward County is one of six publicly-owned treatment works
(POTW) in southeast Florida discharging secondary effluent through open ocean outfalls into the Atlantic Ocean. The NRWWTP is rated at 95 mgd AADF and is composed of five activated sludge modules in parallel (Modules A to E). The NRWWTP is currently only required to provide carbonaceous removal
to comply with effluent TSS and CBOD5 of 30 and 25 mg/L, respectively, on a monthly average basis to discharge to the open ocean outfall. In anticipation of the required nutrient reduction, Broward County undertook a pilot program to evaluate the ability of the NRWWTP to operate
in a nitrification/denitrification mode. The goal of the program was to assess cost effective process modifications that would achieve the necessary reduction in nutrient loadings. The pilot program included a full scale pilot study in one of the fine bubble aeration modules, Module C, which
is rated at 20 mgd AADF. Pilot testing was conducted over a six month period, showing that an average effluent TN of 10 to 12 mg/L can be achieved with minor process modifications and no physical modifications. A BioWin™ model was developed and calibrated based on pilot data. Modeling
results indicate that effluent TN could be further reduced to 7 mg/L by implementing a MLE process. Field and modeling results demonstrate that the County will have multiple options for achieving the required nutrient reduction.
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