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Low Limits for Ammonia — Implications for Facility Design and Operation

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This paper presents a proposed approach for the design and operation of nitrifying facilities subject to low daily maximum ammonia limits in future permit cycles. The proposed approach consists of a three-pronged strategy illustrated for the case study at a fully-nitrifying activated sludge facility in Boulder, CO. 1) The first strategy includes a statistical evaluation based on historic performance data to determine the effluent ammonia design concentration required to assure permit compliance under future daily maximum ammonia limits with the desired reliability. The design criteria required to produce the design effluent ammonia concentration derived from the statistical determination is then determined through process modeling. 2) Dynamic process simulation is proposed as the second strategy to define the minimum design requirements to buffer process performance during unexpected operating events that can reasonably be expected to be a challenge to avoiding unacceptable excursions in effluent ammonia concentrations, e.g., sudden peak Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) loads entering the plant. 3) The third strategy involves an analysis of reasons leading to past nitrification incidents. Results from the analysis are a useful method for identifying low-cost operational strategies for improving the consistency of nitrification performance.

Keywords: Daily maximum ammonia limits; ammonia regulations; dynamic modeling; facility design; facility operation; nitrification; statistical performance evaluation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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