Stringent effluent quality guidelines are progressively implemented in coastal and sensitive areas in Australia. Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) plants are becoming a standard often including a tertiary treatment for disinfection. The BNR plant in Noosa - Queensland is designed to produce a treated effluent with less than 5 mg/l of BOD5, 5 mg/l of total nitrogen, 1 mg/l of total phosphorus, 5 mg/l of suspended solids and total coliforms of less than 10/100 ml. A flexible multi-stage biological process with a pre-fermentation stage, followed by sand filtration and UV disinfection was implemented to achieve this level of treatment. Acetic acid is added for phosphorus removal because: i) the volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration in raw wastewater varies a lot, and ii) the prefermenter had to be turned off due to odor problems on the primary sedimentation tanks. An endogenous anoxic zone was added to the process to further reduce the nitrate concentration. This resulted in some secondary P-release events, a situation that happens when low nitrate and low phosphorus objectives are targeted. Long-term performance data and specific results on nitrogen removal and disinfection are presented in this paper.

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