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Interpreting the Response to Loading Changes in a Mixed-Culture Completely Stirred Tank Reactor

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Mathematical modeling and carefully controlled laboratory experiments are used to quantify the relationships among nitrifying and heterotrophic bacteria and the key constituents of effluent quality. Mathematical model results are used to interpret experimentally measured traditional parameters, such as soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total biomass. Although total biomass declines with a decrease in influent COD loading, soluble effluent quality remains nearly the same because the effluent soluble COD is controlled by biomass-associated products. Increases in ammonia-nitrogen (NH4 +–N) loading result in increases in nitrifier biomass, and the active heterotrophs also increase as a result of formation of soluble microbial products (SMP) by autotrophic nitrifiers. However, increased NH4 +–N loading causes a steady increase in effluent soluble COD, indicating that the SMP production by nitrifiers is only partially used by the heterotrophs. During the nonsteady-state period after a loading change, nitrification responds more slowly than heterotrophic processes and controls the time needed to reach the new steady state.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-09-01

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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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