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Assessing the Effects of Solids Residence Time and Volatile Fatty Acid Augmentation on Biological Phosphorus Removal Using Real Wastewater

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The purpose of the research presented herein was to evaluate the effects of solids residence time (SRT) and organic acid augmentation on biological phosphorus removal (BPR), with a focus on how these operational variables affect key metabolisms and the distribution of the microbial population. Using laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactors seeded with a mixed microbial consortium and fed real wastewater, we observed that longer SRTs can improve BPR performance; organic acid augmentation can stabilize BPR, but it is not necessary for process success; and higher volatile suspended solids concentrations correlate with improved phosphorus removal. The results also suggest that organic acids may not be critical in driving anaerobic phosphorus release, but in driving aerobic growth. Finally, given an observed population similarity across all tested bioreactors, BPR variability appears to be less influenced by the presence of specific microbes and more affected by the induction of critical metabolisms.

Keywords: biological phosphorus removal; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; food-to-microorganism ratio; organic acid augmentation; polymerase chain reaction; solids residence time; volatile fatty acid

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2010

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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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