A 17 m3 Sequencing Batch Biofilm Reactor (SBBR) was operated for enhanced biological phosphorus removal and nitrification for a period of 384 days. Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) activity was instantly induced after start-up of EBPR operation mode and low phosphate effluent values were reached from the first batch onward. Process stability with regard to nitrification and EBPR were very good although high nitrate loads from backwashing disturbed the P removal performance. Due to anoxic conditions in the beginning of the cycle, readily degradable COD was depleted by denitrification. Consequently, particulate matter was the main carbon source for phosphorus accumulating organisms. Anaerobic hydrolysis or fermentation was found to be the rate limiting process in the SBBR cycle. Simultaneous denitrification occurred in the first 30 minutes of aeration and - to a lesser extent - during the remaining aeration time, enhancing nitrogen removal and indirectly also phosphorus removal.

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