The Influence of Hydraulic Loading Rate on Nitrification Performance in a Two-Stage Biological Aerated Filter Pilot Plant
Husovitz, Kari J.
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A two-stage (carbon oxidation stage one, ammonia oxidation stage two) biological aerated filter was operated for 10 months on-site at a domestic wastewater treatment plant. Over the study, the system was operated at different hydraulic loading rates that resulted in a range of applied organic and ammonia mass loadings. Performance was monitored regularly for water quality parameters in the effluent and along the length of the reactors. It was found that nitrification performance was significantly influenced by organic loading rates greater than 1.2 kg cBOD5/m3-d. Additional experiments were conducted in which a constant mass of ammonia was applied (Phase 1: 1.40 Â± 0.08 kg NH3-N/m3-d; Phase 2: 1.31 Â± 0.02 kg NH3-N/m3-d) to the N column, the second stage of the system, over a range of hydraulic loading rates (5.1 -15.8 m/h). Phases of testing were defined by the background hydraulic loading rate applied to the system (Phase 1: 8.3 m/h; Phase 2: 7.1 m/h) at which the reactors were allowed to reach a steady effluent quality for at least one week prior to testing. Organic loading was minimized and kept relatively constant throughout the hydraulic loading rate experiments (0.65 Â± 0.2 kg cBOD5/m3-d) in order to obtain an evaluation of nitrification capacity with minimal competition from heterotrophic bacteria. Results indicated that nitrification performance improved by 17% as the applied velocity increased over the indicated range. A steady-state biofilm model capable of predicting substrate flux was applied to the data in an attempt to explain the improvement in performance with hydraulic loading rate from a fundamental standpoint. Mass transfer coefficients, KL, were derived from the model for conditions in which the experimentally observed flux correlated with the model predictions. Derived KL values were lower than estimations offered by correlation equations but increased with velocity at a similar rate. The model failed to account for changes that may have occurred in biofilm kinetics and structure throughout the length of the reactor.
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