The implementation and evaluation of biological nitrification as a possible treatment option for the small-scale drinking water supply of a rural Upper Austrian community was investigated. The drinking water supply of this community (average system input volume: 20 m3/d) is based on the use of deep anaerobic groundwater with a high ammonium content of geogenic origin (up to 5 mg/l) which must be treated to prevent the formation of nitrites in the drinking water supply system. This paper describes the implementation and operation of biological nitrification despite several constraints including space availability, location and financial and manpower resources. A pilot drinking water treatment plant, including biological nitrification implemented in sand filters, was designed and constructed for a maximum treatment capacity of 1.2 m3/h. Online monitoring of selected physicochemical parameters has provided continuous treatment performance data. Treatment performance of the plant was evaluated under standard operation as well as in the case of selected malfunction events.

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