An upflow, partially packed biological aerated filter (BAF) reactor was used to remove nitrogen in the form of ammonia ions by a nitrification process that involves physical, chemical and biological phenomena governed by a variety of parameters such as dissolved oxygen concentration, pH and alkalinity. Dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH were shown to have effects on the nitrification process in this study. Three C:N ratios i.e., 10, 4 and 1 were compared during this study by varying the nitrogen loading while the carbon loading was kept constant at 0.405 ± 0.015 kg chemical oxygen demand m−3 d−1. The removal efficiencies of ammonia linearly increase with a rise of the initial concentration of ammonia-nitrogen. The results of the 115 days' operation of the BAF system showed that its overall NH3-N performance was good, where a removal efficiency of 87.0 ± 2.9%, 89.2 ± 1.38% and 91.1 ± 0.7% and COD removal of 87.6 ± 2.9%, 86.4 ± 2.1% and 89.5 ± 2.6% were achieved for the C:N ratios of 10, 4 and 1, respectively on average, over 6 h hydraulic retention time (HRT). No clogging occurred throughout the period although backwashing was eliminated. It was concluded that the BAF system proposed in this study removed nitrogen by the nitrification process extremely well.
Keywords: alkalinity, biological aerated filter (BAF), C:N ratio, DO, nitrification, pH