A pilot scale rotating biological contactor was used to investigate the ability to remove nitrate from groundwater using acetic acid as a carbon source under various operating conditions. The reactor achieved a nitrate removal efficiency of 99 to 83 percent at loading rates of 76 and 490 mg/m2.hr respectively with a flow rate of 2.5 l/min at 20±2°C. The nitrate removal rate was found to be dependent on the influent acetic acid loading rate. The optimum acetic acid to nitrate-nitrogen (A/N) ratio was found to be 4.3:1. Under optimum conditions the effluent nitrate, nitrite-nitrogen and residual acetic acid concentrations were 0.43, 0.03 and 4.4 mg/l. The process generally produced low nitrite intermediate production for up to 100 mg/l influent nitrate-nitrogen. The results of this study show that an anoxic RBC using acetic acid as a carbon source is a convenient and reliable process for the removal of nitrate from water supply. Pseudomonas were found to be the dominant bacterial species with species being Ps. stutzeri and Ps. fluorescence.

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