The energy demand of municipal wastewater treatment plants for nutrient removal equipped with primary clarifiers, activated sludge system, anaerobic sludge digestion, and CHP is evaluated theoretically, on the basis of COD balances. Operational experience from energy-efficient Austrian treatment plants confirms that the demand on external electrical energy can be kept as low as 5 to 10 kWh/(pe.a) depending on the N:COD ratio in the raw wastewater. A low N:COD ratio helps to keep not only the effluent nitrogen load low, but also the energy demand. Measures to minimise the energy demand at treatment plants and to reduce the nitrogen load are discussed.

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