Dewatering of digested sludge causes significant internal nitrogen loading to a wastewater treatment plant. Due to the high concentration of nitrogen it is more effective to treat the reject-water not directly in the main purification process but to apply a separate biological treatment procedure. The intermittent operation of sludge-press facilities, the high initial pH-value of reject-water and the quick loss of alkalinity during nitrification makes a reliable control of the process necessary. A sequencing batch reactor (SBR) with an operational control based on on-line measurement of the pH-value is well suited to meet this requirement. Such a control system for discontinuous treatment of reject-water has been extensively tested and optimised in full-scale experiments since 1995. The closed loop control of the pH-value was developed to keep the bicarbonate concentration within an optimum range. At the WWTP Strass in western Austria stable nitrification rates of 50 to 60 mg NH4-N/l/h have been achieved (elimination of 200 kg nitrogen per day).

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