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Water Res. 2006 Aug;40(14):2765-75. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

Efficient and stable nitritation and denitritation of ammonium-rich sludge dewatering liquor using an SBR with continuous loading.

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Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Water Res. 2006 Oct;40(18):3478.


Separate treatment of dewatering liquor from anaerobic sludge digestion significantly reduces the nitrogen load of the main stream and improves overall nitrogen elimination. Such ammonium-rich wastewater is particularly suited to be treated by high rate processes which achieve a rapid elimination of nitrogen with a minimal COD requirement. Processes whereby ammonium is oxidised to nitrite only (nitritation) followed by denitritation with carbon addition can achieve this. Nitrogen removal by nitritation/denitritation was optimised using a novel SBR operation with continuous dewatering liquor addition. Efficient and robust nitrogen elimination was obtained at a total hydraulic retention time of 1 day via the nitrite pathway. Around 85-90% nitrogen removal was achieved at an ammonium loading rate of 1.2 kg [corrected] NH(4)(+)-N m(-3)d(-1). Ethanol was used as electron donor for denitritation at a ratio of 2.2 g COD g(-1) N removed. Conventional nitritation/denitritation with rapid addition of the dewatering liquor at the beginning of the cycle often resulted in considerable nitric oxide (NO) accumulation during the anoxic phase possibly leading to unstable denitritation. Some NO production was still observed in the novel continuous mode, but denitritation was never seriously affected. Thus, process stability can be increased and the high specific reaction rates as well as the continuous feeding result in decreased reactor size for full-scale operation.

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