An attractive method for post-denitrification may be the use of sand filters. In this paper, a description and evaluation are given of full scale studies of the use of a continuous sand filter for the combined removal of suspended solids, phosphorus and nitrogen. Experiments were performed using methanol as a carbon source for denitrification and ferric chloride for an improved phosphorus removal. The studied continuous sand filter was a DynaSand filter marketed by Nordic Water Products AB. The filter has a surface area of 4.7 m2 and a maximum possible bed height of 6 m. The bed consisted of sand with 1.2-2 mm grain size. The tested bed heights were 3.5-4.8 m, and the hydraulic load varied between 5.4 and 24.5 m/h. The effluent from the Loudden treatment plant in Stockholm was supplied to the filter. Influent nitrate concentrations up to 20 mg N/l were tested and they decreased to 0.5-2 mg N/l. The methanol dosage was controlled by the measurement of nitrate continuously in the effluent by a dr Lange meter.
The denitrification rate followed a half order reaction down to low values of nitrate. Results showed that an effluent concentration of 0.15 mg P/l could easily be obtained. It was found that the influence of phosphate concentration is small on the denitrification rate if the phosphate concentration is above 0.1 mg P/l. The reject has a low sludge index which is favourable if the reject is returned to a sedimentation basin. The emission of nitrous gas (N2O) is very low. The installation makes it possible to use space efficiently, since polishing, phosphorus removal and denitrification can take place in the same unit. Already the phosphorus removal process reduces the need for process volume by 80% compared to a conventional process with flocculation and sedimentation basins.