A number of experiments were conducted in order to establish whether the concentration of N2O in the off-gas from an activated sludge pilot plant could be used as a indicator for monitoring the nitrification process and as an early indication of ammonia appearing in the plant effluent. A strong correlation was found between ammonia shock loads and the concentration of N2O in the off-gas from the aeration tank for ammonia shock loads and dissolved oxygen depletion. When subjecting the experimental setup to doses of a nitrification inhibitor (allylthiourea) a similar pattern was seen with a correlation between nitrite build up in the aeration tank and concentration increase of N2O in the off-gas from the aeration tank. The results from this work suggest the concentration and the changes in the concentration of N2O in the exhaust gas from a nitrifying process may be a useful parameter for monitoring nitrifying activated sludge processes.

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