Based on more than 10 years' experience with biological nutrient removal in Johannesburg, this paper highlights aspects which should be borne in mind in the design of such processes. Feed sewage quality and the question of treating raw or settled sewage are considered. More importantly, methods of rendering the feed more suitable for biological phosphorus removal are detailed. As nitrate feedback to the anaerobic zone can often mitigate against good phosphorus removal, methods of obviating this are covered. In this respect the need for, and placement of a second anoxic zone are discussed. Process type and configuration are covered as well as zone retention periods and the split of process volume into unaerated and aerated fractions. Aeration systems and the tailoring of aeration to process needs are also discussed. Two problems that have been experienced in many full-scale plants are bulking sludges and prolific growths of nuisance scums. Methods of minimising these problems are discussed. Finally, mixed liquor and return sludge recycles; aspects to be borne in mind in the design of final clarifiers and the provision of standby chemical addition are discussed.

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