Bio Systems Europe

Poultry processing - Ammonia removal case study

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Courtesy of Bio Systems Europe

Background: A poultry plant in the South of England processes up to 100,000 birds per week. The company operates an Activated Sludge plant followed by a Rotating Biological Contactor the whole system being required to produce effluent ammonia of 20 mg/l. Whilst the treatment plant was able to reach this standard when it was first installed, the success of the company meant that more and more processing was taking place until the system could no longer, because of increasing loads, cope. By this time the system was receiving an ammonia concentration of average 100 mg/l and could only achieve the required standard intermittently when volumes to be treated were reduced, which was very infrequent.

With plans to expand the plant already in hand but still several months away from fruition the company needed to improve their systems performance to satisfy the requirements of the authorities. The only option open to them was to undertake the addition of commercially available nitrifying bacteria to the treatment system.

Results: The following graph records the events from this point.

In the hope of saving costs, the company stopped adding nitrifying bacteria after two months hoping that the established organisms would continue to work. However, as the graph shows, the “sludge age” of the system was too short to permit the nitrifiers to multiply in sufficient and they were washed out of the system. Dosing had to be re instated in January and continued until the new system was commissioned.

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