Denitrification in secondary clarifiers is primarily due to hydrolysis of particulate degradable COD and decay of biomass. The reduction factor of these processes under anoxic as compared to aerobic conditions was investigated in the treatment plants of the City of Zurich. The Zürich-Glatt plant has circular clarifiers with central inlet. The treatment plant Zürich-Werdhölzli has rectangular clarifiers with cross flow and scrapers with vacuum removal of the sludge. At Zürich Glatt denitrification capacity in the clarifiers was 30% of total denitrification, whereas at Zürich-Werdhölzli only 15 % was observed. The sludge mass in the secondary clarifier depends on inlet flow, return sludge flow, activated sludge concentration, sedimentation properties of the sludge and scraper intervals. During dry weather and due to good sedimentation properties the activated sludge blanket in the thickening zone of the rectangular clarifiers at Zürich-Werdhölzli is almost completely removed after passage of the scraper. Denitrification volume in the secondary clarifier can therefore be modelled in relation to the ratio of inlet to return sludge flow and scraper interval. With the aid of control of return sludge flow and scraper intervals denitrification capacity in the secondary clarifiers may be improved. In order to control denitrification in the secondary clarifier the model must include a variable sludge volume in the clarifier related to scraper interval under the assumption of constant sludge mass in the entire system.

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