Influence of Aeration on Nitrogen Removal in a Submerged Biological Aerated Filter for Residuals Removal

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A submerged biological aerated filter(BAF) partially aerated was used to study the removal of low concentrations of ammonia nitrogen (0.3 to 30.5 g N/m3). Four series of experiments were performed at ammonia loading rates between 6 and 903 g N /m3.d and C/N ratios from 2 to 20. The results showed that ammonia removal rates reached higher values (172 to 564 g N/m3.d) for the C/N ratio of 2 and lower values (13.6 to 34.6 g N/m3.d) for the C/N ratio of 20. Between 50 and 70% of the ammonia was removed in the upper section of the BAF where the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration was over 2.1 g O2/m3 and the biofilm was more developed. At the bottom section of the reactor, simultaneous removal of ammonia and nitrate was observed at the DO concentrations in the range 0.4 to 0.8 g O2/m3. There was no removal of nitrogen for the loads below 15 g Nm3.d. Nitrogen cycle involves a complex set of potential biochemical pathways with reactions catalyzed by different microorganisms and the results indicate that the removal of nitrogen may not only be explained by the conventional mechanisms of nitrification/denitrification.
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