Wateropolis Corp.

Wateropolis Corp.

Evaluation of Ceralite-A as Ammonia Removal Biological Treatment Support Media - Case Study


Courtesy of Wateropolis Corp.

Project Description

A novel biological oxidation filtration treatment process was evaluated for removal of ammonia from a California groundwater source. In addition to ammonia, this groundwater had other contaminants such as iron, manganese, methane, hydrogen sulfide odor, color, high organic carbon, etc. As such, more conventional treatment processes such as breakpoint chlorination were deemed infeasible, and biological treatment was the preferred treatment alternative.

A ten-month extended pilot study was conducted to evaluate the proposed biological oxidation filtration process, and to develop design criteria for a full-scale system. The process train consisted of aeration (dissolved oxygen augmentation), chemical addition (peroxide, phosphate, etc.), biological filtration, and post-filter disinfection. Several filter media were evaluated including Ceralite- A, dual media (anthracite/ sand), and granular activated carbon (GAC). The filter design criteria during the steady-state operation of the pilot is shown in Table 1.

Pilot Test Results

Biological Treatment Performance:

Figure 1 shows the performance of the different media in supporting growth of microorganisms such as nitrifying bacteria. Complete nitrification (i.e. conversion of ammonia to nitrate) in the filter with Ceralite- A media was observed within ten weeks of startup. This was quicker than both the GAC and dual media filters. Complete nitrification was never achieved in the dual media filters. In contrast, steady state performance with complete nitrification could be maintained within the Ceralite-A filter for more than eight weeks of continuous filter operation.

Filtration Performance:

Filter head-loss over a representative 96-hour duration is shown in Figure 2. For pilot operations, the backwash triggers were set as: a maximum filter run time of 48 hours, or a terminal head-loss of 1 foot (of water), whichever is achieved earlier. The dual media filter wasn’t able to reach a 48-hour filter run without exceeding terminal head-loss.

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