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Experimental and Model-Based Evaluation of the DON and CON Fate in Biological Nutrient Removal Activated Sludge Systems

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This paper presents information on observed depletion and/or production rates of dissolved and colloidal organic nitrogen (DON and CON) in two medium-size wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) (Kartuzy, Koscierzyna) in northern Poland. Furthermore, the Activated Sludge Model No. 2d was expanded to simulate the fate of nitrogen in activated sludge reactors at a large WWTP in Gdansk. Experimental data for organic N included both field measurements (detailed influent and effluent fractionation, concentration profiles in the bioreactors) and laboratory batch experiments. The effluent DON and CON concentrations at the three plants ranged from 1.1–1.3 to 2.2–5.7 g N/m3, while DON concentrations ranged from 0.1 (all the plants) to 0.9–1.1 (Koscierzyna and Gdansk), and 3.6 g N/m3 (Kartuzy). The DON and CON concentration profiles revealed that the highest reductions in CON concentrations were observed in the anaerobic zone of the bioreactors, whereas the DON concentrations were slightly increasing in the aerobic zone (production from biomass decay). The accurate steady-state and dynamic predictions of organic N behavior at the Gdansk WWTP were possible by varying ammonification and hydrolysis rates under different electron acceptor conditions. Both process rates under anaerobic and anoxic conditions were reduced by factors ηana = 0.1 and ηanox = 0.6, respectively, compared to aerobic conditions. The particulate organic N hydrolysis pathways (one-step directly to DON vs. two-step via CON) had relatively insignificant effects on DON and CON predictions.
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Keywords: Activated sludge; CON; DON; biological nutrient removal; colloidal organic nitrogen; dissolved organic nitrogen; nitrogen fractionation; nitrogen removal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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