In this paper the advantages and disadvantages of denitrifying PAOs (polyphosphat accumulating organisms) in conventional BNRAS (biological nutrient removal activated sludge) and external nitrification BNRAS (ENBNRAS) systems are evaluated, with experimental data exhibiting a range of anoxic P uptake from low (<10%) to very high (>60%). The results indicate that the specific denitrification rate of the PAOs on internally stored PHB COD is about 1/5th of that of the “ordinary” heterotrophic organisms on SBCOD, and the PAOs contribute little (maximum 20%) to the denitrification in BNRAS systems even when the anoxic P uptake is high (60% of the total P uptake). Considering the unpredictable nature of anoxic P uptake and the reduction in BEPR it causes compared with aerobic P uptake BEPR, it is concluded that anoxic P uptake does not add a significant advantage to the BNR system.

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