Rock filters are an established technology for polishing waste stabilization pond effluents. However, they rapidly become anoxic and consequently do not remove ammonium-nitrogen. Horizontal-flow aerated rock filters (HFARF), developed to permit nitrification and hence ammonium-N removal, were compared with a novel vertical-flow aerated rock filter (VFARF). There were no differences in the removals of BOD5, TSS and TKN, but the VFARF consistently produced effluents with lower ammonium-N concentrations (<0.3 mg N/L) than the HFARF (0.8−1.5 mg N/L) and higher nitrate-N concentrations (24–29 mg N/L vs. 17–24 mg N/L).
Keywords: aerated rock filters, ammonium nitrogen, facultative ponds, horizontal flow, vertical flow