Author(s): Rostron WM, Stuckey DC, Young AA, Rostron WM, Stuckey DC, Young AA
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Abstract Due to legislative pressures, sludge production and processing in the UK will increase substantially in the future resulting in a supernatant liquid high in ammonia (500-1000 mg l-1) and "hard" COD (approximately 500 mg l-1). A small footprint reactor is required to effectively nitrify this effluent, and the aim of this work was to compare a number of immobilisation media under a variety of conditions in order to determine which media held the most promise for future development. Laboratory-scale continuously stirred tank reactors containing freely suspended and immobilised biomass were operated with a high-strength synthetic ammonia wastewater (500 mg N l-1) to determine the nitrification rates at various temperatures, and ammonia and COD loadings. COD:NH3 ratios in sludge liquors vary widely depending on the treatment processes employed, and therefore ratios of 1:1 and 2:1 were tested as being fairly typical. The freely suspended nitrifiers were washed out of the reactors at a 1 d hydraulic retention time (HRT), whereas the reactors containing adsorption particles (Linpor and Kaldnes) and PVA-encapsulated nitrifiers continued partially nitrifying down to 12 h, and oxygen addition enhanced nitrification. A decrease in temperature from 25 to 16 degrees C only caused a small (10\%) decrease in nitrification in the immobilised cell reactors, demonstrating that nitrification was mass transfer rather than kinetically controlled. A reduction in nitrification occurred when glucose (500 mg l-1) was added to the feed due to the growth of a heterotrophic population. The adsorbed biomass reactors lost 35\% of nitrification compared to only 7\% with PVA, and it appears that the colonisation of PVA by heterotrophs is more difficult than for Linpor and Kaldnes. Respiration rates for all particles increased with time in the reactors, and nitrifiers immobilised in PVA retained approximately 40\% of their viability after immobilisation. Volumetric nitrification rates were generally higher for the PVA reactor than for Linpor and Kaldnes, and were: suspended biomass reactor: 0.36; Linpor: 0.57; Kaldnes: 0.53 and PVA: 0.70 kg N m-3-reactor d-1 for a 25\% reactor fill. These equate to 2.28, 4.24 and 3.97 g N m-2-media d-1 for Linpor, Kaldnes and PVA respectively, hence other reactor fill rates for Kaldnes warrant further investigation. However, the PVA particles with the highest nitrification rates under all conditions showed promise as an immobilisation medium, and are amenable to further optimisation for the nitrification of high-strength ammonia wastewaters.
This article was published in Water Res
and referenced in Journal of Bioprocessing & Biotechniques