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Investigation of hypothesized anaerobic stabilization mechanisms in biological nutrient removal systems

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Anaerobic stabilization (AnS) is denned as difference between actual and theoretical oxygen use in activated sludge systems with anaerobic selectors. AnS-related oxygen savings translate into potentially lower aeration power costs. A comprehensive electron balance approach was developed for more accurate determination of AnS, along with procedures for in-situ oxygen uptake rate (OUR) measurement and analysis of dissolved gases by vacuum stripping.

Lab-scale anaerobic/oxic (A/O) and anaerobic/anoxic/oxic (A2/O) systems operated under various conditions yielded AnS values of 15-55% of the theoretical oxygen requirement. Hydrogen and methane production together explained less than 1% of AnS, except when the A/O feed was supplemented with formate, in which case methane production explained about 19% of AnS. Stripping of reduced volatiles explained less than 1% of AnS in both systems. Kinetic limitations of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) test were not found to be significant in explaining AnS, but thermodynamic limitations were identified as potentially capable of explaining a significant fraction of AnS. Mechanisms are hypothesized that can partially explain AnS based on the results of this study.

Keywords: anaerobic treatment; chemical oxygen demand; electron balance; gas production; oxygen uptake; phosphorus removal

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1994

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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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