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An Investigation of Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor Nitrification during Long-Term Exposure to Cold Temperatures

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT: 

Biological treatment is the most common and economical means of ammonia removal in wastewater; however, nitrification rates can become completely impeded at cold temperatures. Attached growth processes and, specifically, moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) have shown promise with respect to low-temperature nitrification. In this study, two laboratory MBBRs were used to investigate MBBR nitrification rates at 20, 5, and 1 °C. Furthermore, the solids detached by the MBBR reactors were investigated and Arrhenius temperature correction models used to predict nitrification rates after long-term low-temperature exposure was evaluated. The nitrification rate at 5 °C was 66 ± 3.9% and 64 ± 3.7% compared to the rate measured at 20 °C for reactors 1 and 2, respectively. The nitrification rates at 1 °C over a 4-month exposure period compared to the rate at 20 °C were 18.7 ± 5.5% and 15.7 ± 4.7% for the two reactors. The quantity of solids detached from the MBBR biocarriers was low and the mass of biofilm per carrier did not vary significantly at 20 °C compared to that after long-term exposure at 1 °C. Lastly, a temperature correction model based on exposure time to cold temperatures showed a strong correlation to the calculated ammonia removal rates relative to 20 °C following a gradual acclimatization period to cold temperatures.

Keywords: ammonia removal; biofilm; cold temperatures; moving bed biofilm reactor; nitrification; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143013X13807328848694

Affiliations: Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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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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