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Water Res. 2008 Feb;42(3):812-26. Epub 2007 Aug 25.

Dynamics of nitric oxide and nitrous oxide emission during full-scale reject water treatment.

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Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC, Delft, Netherlands.


Emission of NO and N2O from a full-scale two-reactor nitritation-anammox process was determined during a measurement campaign at the Dokhaven-Sluisjesdijk municipal WWTP (Rotterdam, NL). The NO and N2O levels in the off-gas responded to the aeration cycles and the aeration rate of the nitritation reactor, and to the nitrite and dissolved oxygen concentration. Due to the strong fluctuations in the NO and N2O levels in both the nitritation and the anammox reactor, only time-dependent measurements could yield a reliable estimate of the overall NO and N2O emissions. The NO emission from the nitritation reactor was 0.2% of the nitrogen load and the N2O emission was 1.7%. The NO emission from the anammox reactor was determined to be 0.003% of the nitrogen load and the N2O emission was 0.6%. Emission of NO2 could not be detected from the nitritation-anammox system. Denitrification by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria was considered to be the most probable cause of NO and N2O emission from the nitritation reactor. Since anammox bacteria have not been shown to produce N2O under physiological conditions, it is also suspected that ammonia-oxidizing bacteria contribute most to N2O production in the anammox reactor. The source of NO production in the anammox reactor can be either anammox bacteria or denitrification by heterotrophs or ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. Based on the results and previous work, it seems that a low dissolved oxygen or a high nitrite concentration are the most likely cause of elevated NO and N2O emission by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. The emission was compared with measurements at other reject water technologies and with the main line of the Dokhaven-Sluisjesdijk WWTP. The N2O emission levels in the reject water treatment seem to be in the same range as for the main stream of activated sludge processes. Preliminary measurements of the N2O emission from a one-reactor nitritation-anammox system indicate that the emission is lower than in two-reactor systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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