The objective of this NSF sponsored research was to provide a controlled comparison of identical continuous flow biological nutrient removal (BNR) processes both with and without prefermentation in order to provide a stronger, more quantitative, technical basis for design engineers to determine the potential benefits of prefermentation to EBPR in treating domestic wastewater. Specifically, this paper focused upon the potential impacts of primary influent prefermentation upon BNR processes treating septic domestic wastewater. This study can be divided into two distinct phases - an initial bench-scale phase which treated septic P-limited (TCOD:TP>40) wastewater and a subsequent pilot-scale phase which treated septic COD-limited (TCOD:TP<40) wastewater. The following conclusions can be drawn from the results obtained to date.

  • Prefermentation increased both RBCOD, SBCOD and VFA content of septic domestic wastewater.

  • Prefermentation resulted in increased biological P removal for a highly septic, non-P limited (TCOD:TP<40:1) wastewater. However, in septic, P-limited (TCOD:TP>40:1) wastewater, changes in net P removal due to prefermentation were suppressed by limited P availability, even though P release and PHA content were affected.

  • Prefermentation increased specific anoxic denitrification rates for both COD and P-limited wastewaters, and in the pilot (COD-limited) study also coincided with greater system N removal.

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