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Nitrogen removal from dilute wastewater in cold climate using moving-bed biofilm reactors

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A moving-bed biofilm reactor has been developed, where the biofilm grows on small, free-floating plastic elements with a large surface area and a density slightly less than 1.0 g/cm3. Nitrogen removal, based on nitrification and denitrification, was studied in a pilot plant with an active, specific biofilm surface area of approximately 310 m2/m3. Temperatures ranged from 7 to 18°C, and untreated wastewater had concentrations typically less than 100 mg soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD)/L and 25 mg total N/L. Both predenitrification, using untreated wastewater as carbon source, and post-denitrification of pre-precipitated wastewater, using acetate as an external carbon source, were examined. The predenitrification process was carbon limited, and only 50% to 70% total N removal was obtained, at a recirculation ratio of approximately 2.0 and a total empty bed hydraulic residence time of approximately 6 hours in the biofilm reactors. With post-denitrification and an external carbon source, 80% to 90% total N removal could easily be reached at total empty bed hydraulic residence times less than 3 hours.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1995-01-01

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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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