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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: https://doi.org/10.2175/106143013X13807328848694

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

Publication date: 2014-01-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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