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Combined Anaerobic/Aerobic Digestion: Effect of Aerobic Retention Time on Nitrogen and Solids Removal

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A combined anaerobic/aerobic sludge digestion system was studied to determine the effect of aerobic solids retention time (SRT) on its solids and nitrogen removal efficiencies. After the anaerobic digester reached steady state, effluent from the anaerobic digester was fed to aerobic digesters that were operated at 2- to 5-day SRTs. The anaerobic system was fed with a mixture of primary and secondary sludge from a local municipal wastewater treatment plant. Both systems were fed once per a day. The aerobic reactor was continuously aerated with ambient air, maintaining dissolved oxygen level at 1.1 ± 0.3 mg/L. At a 4-day or longer SRT, more than 11% additional volatile solids and 90% or greater ammonia were removed in the aerobic digester, while 32.8 mg-N/L or more nitrite/nitrate also was measured. Most total Kjeldahl nitrogen removal was via ammonia removal, while little organic nitrogen was removed in the aerobic digester.

Keywords: combined anaerobic and aeration digestion; continuous aeration; nitrogen removal; solids reduction

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-09-01

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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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