A novel system was used for nitrogen removal from reject water. This system includes one anoxic/oxic reactor for nitrification and a special reactor for denitrification in which primary sludge was added intermittently as electron donor. In denitrification reactor, sludge fermentation and denitrification reaction took place simultaneously and promoted each other. It was found that effluent recycle could improve nitrogen removal efficiency due to reclaiming of alkalinity. Under steady state conditions, the average solid retention time (SRT) in denitrification reactor was 12–15 d, a total nitrogen loading rate was 0.2 kg N/(m3 day) and TN removal efficiency was more than 90% without extra carbon source addition. Primary sludge was degraded so that volatile suspended solid (VSS) decreased by 50%. Further investigation showed that ORP could be taken as a control parameter for sludge addition.
Keywords: denitrification, fermentation, nitrogen removal, primary sludge, reject water, VFA