In investigations concerning sludge bulking in Berlin enhanced biological phosphorus removal was first observed unexpectedly. Because since 1986 an officially preset limit of 2 mg TP/l must be kept in all Berlin wastewater discharges it was decided to explore the capabilities of the observed mechanism under the specific circumstances of the existing two large treatment plants in Ruhleben (240,000 m3/d) and Marienfelde (100,000 m3/d). For this purpose some of the existing units at both plants were equipped with anaerobic zones which were generated mainly by process modifications. Additionally stage one of the Ruhleben plant was altered completely in order to investigate the combination of biological phosphorus and nitrogen removal as a special pilot study in three parallel trains. The research activities and treatment results gained in each of the two stages of the Ruhleben and in the Marienfelde plant are reported in detail. For example BOD-related phosphorus removal rates were obtained ranging from 2.3-4.5 mg TP per 100 mg BOD removed. It must be stressed that all examinations were performed under full-scale conditions. At present the given limit of 2 mg TP/l in the Ruhleben plant is met without any chemical precipitation at least on average. From the beginning biological phosphorus removal will be integrated into further projected extensions.

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