Comparison of Aeration Strategies for Optimization of Nitrogen Removal in an Adsorption/Bio-oxidation (A/B) Process with an Emphasis on Ammonia vs. NOx (AvN) control

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Virginia Tech


Research was performed at a pilot-scale wastewater treatment plant operating an adsorption/bio-oxidation (A/B) process at 20C. The study compared B-Stage performance under DO Control, Ammonia Based Aeration Control (ABAC), and Ammonia vs. NOx (AvN) control. AvN in 1) fully-intermittent and 2) intermittently-aerated MLE configurations was compared to DO Control and ABAC, each with continuous aeration, in an MLE configuration. The study also examined operation of each aeration strategy with two different feed types: A-Stage effluent (ASE) and primary clarifier effluent (PCE). Operating modes were compared on the basis of nitrogen removal performance, COD utilization efficiency for denitrification, and alkalinity consumption.

AvN was found to provide comparable nitrogen removal performance to DO Control and ABAC. The highest nitrogen removal performance was seen when operating DO Control (81.4 ± 1.2%) and ABAC (81.1 ± 1.2%) with PCE. High nitrogen removal efficiency (77.5 ± 6.1%) was seen when fully-intermittent AvN operation was fed ASE containing a high particulate COD fraction. A high effluent nitrite accumulation ratio (NAR = NO2-/(NO2-+NO3-)) was seen during this period (46 ± 15%) accompanied by the out-selection of Nitrospira. Feeding effluent from AvN control to an Anammox MBBR improved removal efficiency.

Increased soluble COD loading resulted in greater nitrogen removal with strategies operating in an MLE configuration while particulate COD was found to be important for processes where removal was designed to occur in downstream reactors. Efficiency of COD for denitrification was found to vary based on the amount and type of influent COD; however AvN in an MLE configuration was found to use COD more efficiently than fully-intermittent AvN. In either configuration, AvN required less alkalinity addition than DO Control or ABAC. High sCOD concentrations in PCE led to increased nutrient removal as compared to ASE but increased heterotrophic growth and mixed liquor concentrations in the B-Stage making the A-Stage an attractive option for its ability to control the C/N ratio fed to BNR processes.



AvN, ABAC, DO Control, AOB, NOB, NOB out-selection, Aeration control, Intermittent aeration, Nitrogen removal, Nitrification, Denitrification, Nitrite Shunt, Partial Nitritation, Mainstream Deammonification, Nitrite accumulation, A/B Process, BNR