Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from the secondary effluent in tertiary denitrifying biofilters combined with micro-coagulation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Effective control of nitrogen and phosphorus in secondary effluent can reduce or avoid the eutrophication of receiving water bodies. Two denitrifying biofilters (DNBFs) packed with different sizes of quartz sands combined with micro-coagulation were operated for simultaneous removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from the secondary effluent. The quartz sand size in one DNBF was 2–4 mm (DNBFS), and in the other was 4–6 mm (DNBFL). In both DNBFs, methanol was used as the electron donor and different organic carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratios were applied. Under C/N ratios of 1.5, 1.25, and 0.75 g/g, the nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) removal percentages were 73%, 77%, and 50% in DNBFS, and 43%, 25%, and 21% in DNBFL; the effluent total phosphorus concentrations were 0.15, 0.14, and 0.18 mg/L in DNBFS, and 0.29, 0.35, and 0.24 mg/L in DNBFL. The performance of both biofilters was quite stable within a backwashing cycle. The NO3-N reduction rates were 1.31, 1.10, and 0.48 mg/(L·min) in DNBFS, and 0.97, 0.27, and 0.10 mg/(L·min) in DNBFL. For biomass detached from both biofilters, their denitrifying activities were similar. Biofilm biomass in DNBFS was higher than that in DNBFL, inducing a high denitrification efficiency in DNBFS.

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