An Investigation of Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor Nitrification during Long-Term Exposure to Cold Temperatures
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.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Publication date: January 1, 2014
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