National and international regulations require a minimum nitrogen removal efficiency of 70% in most public sewage treatment plants. Unlike in activated sludge plants, selective denitrification in trickling filters was not possible until now. Therefore the aim was to employ trickling filter plants for selective denitrification, using innovative technology that involved minimum capital expenditure. For selective denitrification, it is necessary to prevent as much as possible the transfer of oxygen into the trickling filter while feeding the nitrate to be removed, a process similar to upstream denitrification in the activated sludge process. In a test operation conducted in several sewage treatment plants for over a year, the new process with selective denitrification in a covered trickling filter has given successful results. The denitrification efficiency of this system is comparable to that of upstream denitrification in the activated sludge process. Thus, selective denitrification in the trickling filter is a practical alternative to other nitrogen removal processes, while maintaining the established advantages offered by the trickling filter process.

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