Part-time aeration is frequently applied in activated sludge systems in order to decrease treatment costs by achieving nitrification and denitrification in the same basin. However, measurements and mathematical simulations carried out at the North-Budapest Wastewater Treatment Plant (Budapest, Hungary), clearly show that especially in the increasingly characteristic shortage of readily biodegradable carbon-source, this technique may lead to high effluent nitrate and/or ammonia concentrations at decreased temperatures. This situation may be worsened when co-digestion of external wastes with high N-content increase the ammonia concentration of sludge processing return flows. In these cases, denitrification should rather be enhanced in pre-anoxic zones. Pronounced pre-denitrification leads to better usage of the influent carbon-source and to considerably less methanol demand when dosing external carbon-source proves to be necessary.

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