Evaluating the Fate of Manure Nitrogen in Confined Dairy Waste Operations: a Full-Scale Waste Analysis and Start-Up Protocol for an Anammox-Based Treatment Technology Applicable to Dairy Waste Management
Sweetman, Paul J
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In an effort to develop cost-effective technologies for the removal of ammonium nitrogen from dairy waste, a novel biological wastewater treatment process, utilizing anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), referred to as Oxygen-Limited Autotrophic Nitrification and Denitrification (OLAND) was examined. Due to the potential use of OLAND-based systems in dairy manure management, a detailed water quality assessment of a modern dairy farm manure treatment-system was conducted. The Johnson Highland Dairy Farm, Glade Spring, Virginia, was selected for this assessment and a comprehensive analysis of the wastewater characteristics throughout the confined animal feeding operation was completed. The results suggest that ammonia concentrations in the anaerobic storage facility was high enough to justify use of treatment technologies that reduce ammonia loads in stored dairy waste. A lightly loaded Fixed Film Bioreactor (FFBR), in which the OLAND process was desired to occur, was then constructed in the laboratory and monitored over 51 days. Of particular interest was the time taken to achieve stable performance of this OLAND system. Furthermore, a protocol was developed to determine whether OLAND based metabolism was occurring. Ammonium nitrogen removal efficiency in the FFBR throughout the 51-day monitoring period was high, averaging approximately 95 % for the length of the study. From day 32 to 51, simultaneous removal of both ammonium and nitrite with a low level of concomitant nitrate production was observed, a key indicator of possible anammox activity. Stoichiometric ratios calculated for the FFBR compared favorably with those already established for OLAND systems. The developed protocol, incorporating anaerobic and aerobic batch experiments, to verify the occurrence of OLAND based metabolism did not yield expected results and described poorly what was being observed in the FFBR. Volatilization of ammonia during the experimental test was suspected and should be controlled when the protocol is performed in the future.
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