Biofilters can be added to existing non-nitrifying activated sludge plants for tertiary ammonia removal and effluent polishing. It is a convenient, efficient, and cost effective way of meeting more stringent consents. In order to prove this technology, a biofilter pilot plant was installed in a large activated sludge plant with challenging conditions, since almost half of the load is industrial effluent and the water temperature can be as low as 7°C. Trials were conducted over a two year period, providing the following information: low water temperature does not affect the process; the optimum rise rate at nominal flow is 8.5 m/h for this wastewater; the consent can be achieved for ammonia loads up to 0.94 kgNH4N/M3 media/day; about 50% of the post-secondary TSS and BOD can be removed in the BAF; a large proportion of industrial effluent has not had any noticeable effect on the beads after two years. A full scale plant with a nominal flow of 8257 l/s was then built and commissioned in summer 1998. Seeding was completed within three weeks of starting the filters. Two months later, a 28 day takeover was started. Results obtained on full scale plant during and after this test confirm the results obtained on the pilot.

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