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A Distillery By-Product as an External Carbon Source for Enhancing Denitrification in Mainstream and Sidestream Treatment Processes

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This paper presents preliminary results of a 3-year (2010-2012) project concerning the use of fusel oil as an “alternative” carbon source for denitrification in the mainstream and sidestream treatment processes. The investigations were conducted at the “Wschod” wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in the city of Gdansk (northern Poland) and comprised two kinds of batch experiments as well as acclimation of process biomass to external carbon sources. In the conventional nitrate utilization rate (NUR) measurements (one-phase experiments under anoxic conditions) with fusel oils from two local distilleries and other carbon sources (settled wastewater and ethanol), the highest NURs were observed for a readily biodegradable fraction of the settled wastewater. The rates observed for the fusel oils (= 1.4-1.7 g N/(kg VSS h)) were similar to both ethanol and slowly biodegradable fraction of the settled wastewater. When adding the fusel oils at the beginning of the anoxic phase preceded by an anaerobic phase (two-phase experiments), the range of observed NURs, i.e. 2.5-2.9 g N/(kg VSS·h), was comparable to the reference tests without addition of external carbon sources. The addition of fusel oil and ethanol resulted in a significant enhancement of the denitrification efficiency in lab-scale sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) treating reject water in the “fill-anddraw” mode. The NURs were continuously increasing from <1 g N/(kg VSS·h) to >10 g N/(kg VSS·h) over the entire 4-week operational period. The overall TN reduction efficiency achieved the level of approximately 90%.
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Keywords: Activated sludge; batch test; denitrification; external carbon source; nutrient removal; sidestream treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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