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Comparison of Performance and Operation of Side-By-Side Integrated Fixed-Film and Conventional Activated Sludge Processes at Demonstration Scale

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A full-scale demonstration of an integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFFAS) process with floating carriers has been conducted in Ontario, Canada, since August 2003. In this study, data collected on-site from July 2005 to December 2006 are analyzed and compared with the performance of a conventional activated sludge train operated in parallel. Both trains received similar loadings and maintained comparable mixed liquor concentrations; however, the IFFAS had 50% more biomass when the attached growth was considered.

In the winter, the conventional train operated at the critical solids retention time (SRT) and had fluctuating partial nitrification. The IFFAS nitrified more consistently and had a doubled average capacity. In the summer, the suspended SRT was less limiting, and the benefit of IFFAS for nitrification was marginal.

The lessons learned from the operational requirements and challenges of the IFFAS process (air flow, carrier management, and seasonal foaming) are discussed, and design recommendations are proposed for whole plant retrofit.

Keywords: airflow; conventional activated sludge; floating biofilm carriers; foaming; integrated fixed-film activated sludge; nitrification; operation; solids retention time

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009

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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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