The control of the nitrate recirculation flow in a predenitrification system is addressed. An elementary mass balance analysis on the utilisation efficiency of the influent biodegradable COD (bCOD) for nitrate removal indicates that the control problem can be broken down into two parts: maintaining the “anoxic” zone anoxic (i.e. nitrate is present throughout the anoxic zone) and maximising the usage of influent soluble bCOD for denitrification. Simulation studies using the Simulation Benchmark developed in the European COST program show that both objectives can be achieved by maintaining the nitrate concentration at the outlet of the anoxic zone at around 2 mgN/L. This setpoint appears to be robust towards variations in the influent characteristics and sludge kinetics.

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