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Shelter From The Storm: Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge Protects Nitrifiers From Toxic Upsets

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The potential benefits of integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS) with respect to protecting against chemical inhibitors of nitrification were evaluated in a pilot-scale study. Parallel IFAS and non-IFAS (Control) trains in A2O configurations were fed primary effluent from a full scale system. Chemical inhibition was evaluated in batch tests of both suspended phase (activated sludge) and attached phase (biofilm on IFAS media) samples. Attached biomass from a downstream aerobic reactor had approximately 50% greater specific rates of nitrification than either suspended phase biomass. Attached biomass was consistently more resistant to chemical inhibition than was suspended phase biomass for all chemicals tested. For example, at 0.2 mg copper/L, the Control system experienced 53% inhibition, while both of the IFAS attached growth phases experienced only 13 to 14% inhibition. These results suggest that IFAS systems may be useful for providing greater process stability due to increased resistance to inhibition.
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Keywords: Integrated fixed film activated sludge; ammonia; inhibition; nitrate; nitrification; process stability; toxic chemicals

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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