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Effects of temperature and mean cell residence time on biological nutrient removal processes

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The effects of temperature and mean cell residence time (MCRT) on biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal were investigated by operating two pilot-scale continuous-flow reactors in parallel over a range of temperatures and MCRTs. One system was operated as a high-rate Virginia Initiative Plant (VIP) biological nutrient removal (BNR) process, and the other was operated as a conventional, fully aerobic activated sludge process for comparison. Results showed that less aerobic volume was needed for complete nitrification in the BNR process than in the conventional process when conditions of temperature and MCRT were suitable for complete nitrification. However, the BNR system was more prone to nitrifier washout than the conventional system. Nitrification rates and the degree of nitrification achieved by the BNR system and the conventional system were equal when compared on the basis of aerobic MCRT. Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) was adversely afFected by colder temperatures, with lower MCRTs being most affected. EBPR was not possible at a 5 day system MCRT and 10°C. Nitrification, however, was more sensitive to MCRT and temperature effects than EBPR under all conditions studied. Operation of the BNR process at the lowest MCRT that provided complete nitrification provided the best combined nitrogen and phosphorus removal when EBPR was chemical oxygen demand (COD)-limited. Higher MCRTs were considered optimal when EBPR was limited by phosphorus because of lower sludge productions.
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Keywords: activated sludge; biological nutrient removal; mean cell residence time; nitrification; nitrifier washout

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1993-03-01

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    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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