Lagoon systems achieve good and stable effluent data in regard to organic pollutants, but they charge the receiving waters with relatively high ammonium loads. Therefore an existing lagoon-plant was extended by a vertical flow reed-bed for the special purpose of nitrification. This paper presents the efficiency of the combination plant as well as the possibility to monitor and control the reed-bed operation by the oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). The results show that the combination plant achieved excellent purification results, the average efficiency degrees were 97% for COD, 77% for Ntotal and 94% for the TKN elimination. The ORP in the effluent of the reed bed showed a clear dependence in its characteristic course and its absolute values on the current nitrification performance, the oxygen supply and the hydraulic behaviour of the reed bed. Therefore the ORP is a very good indicator for the state of the reed bed, which ultimately results from the accumulation of a large number of different influencing parameters. As the preservation of aerobic conditions in the reed bed is the crucial prerequisite for a high nitrification performance and for the avoidance of clogging, the ORP thus offers the possibility of immediate operation control.

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