In an attempt to gain a better understanding of ammonia and nitrogen removal processes in multi-pond wastewater treatment lagoons, an analysis was carried out of data obtained during regular monitoring of Lagoon 115E at the Western Treatment Plant in Melbourne. To do this, a contour plot approach was developed that enables the data to be displayed as a function of pond number and date. Superimposition of contour plots for different parameters enabled the dependence of ammonia and nitrogen removal rates on various lagoon characteristics to be readily assessed. The importance of nitrification as an ammonia removal mechanism was confirmed. Temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration and algal concentration all had a significant influence on whether or not sizeable nitrifier populations developed and persisted in lagoon waters. The analysis made it evident that a better understanding of microbial, chemical and physical processes in lagoons is needed before their nitrogen removal capabilities can be predicted with confidence.

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