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Kinetic Evaluation and Model Simulation of Temperature Impact on Biofilm Growth and Nitrification in a Full-Scale MBBR System

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The Moorhead, Minnesota Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) operates a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) to comply with seasonal ammonia discharge limitations. Since becoming operational in 2003, the MBBR has consistently nitrified year round even with extreme fluctuations in ambient temperature. To further investigate this seemingly inconsequential temperature effect, a monitoring program was developed to evaluate biomass growth and changes. Biomass observation showed large changes in quantity, morphology, and distribution over a seasonal year. Batch kinetic studies were performed over the operating range of temperatures using media taken directly from the MBBR. Kinetic parameters were determined and evaluated and were tied to observed biomass characteristics. Evaluation of the data showed that in response to decreased nitrification rates, biofilm morphology changes occurred resulting in increased overall active biomass quantities and surface areas allowing for effective nitrification during cold periods.
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Keywords: Biofilm; Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR); Nitrification Kinetics; Temperature

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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