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The effect of particulate organic matter on biofilm nitrification

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The effects of particulate and soluble organic matter (BOD) on nitrification were investigated in laboratory experiments using a bench-scale rotating biological contactor (RBC). This work was initiated by lower than expected nitrification rates in the second stage biofilm processes at the Longmont Waste Water Treatment Plant (LWWTP). It was hypothesized that this was due to particulate matter since soluble BOD in the influent was low.

For a range of 12 and 82 mg/L total BOD to the pilot RBC; particulate BOD was found to inhibit nitrification to the same degree as soluble BOD. In fact, total (soluble plus particulate) influent organic matter was found to be a better predictor of nitrification than soluble organic matter concentration. The inhibition of nitrification by particulate BOD suggests that clarified influent should be used for nitrifying biofilm processes, total BOD < 20 mg/L. Trough dissolved oxygen profiles were not correlated to nitrification.

Keywords: ammonia; biofilm; inhibition; nitrification; particulates; rotating biological contactor

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1992-07-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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