Bio-augmentation can be used to obtain nitrification in activated sludge processes that operate at ub-optimal solid retention times. A side-stream process, the so-called BABE® process that incorporates Nremoval and augmentation of nitrifiers has been developed. The principle is to implement a nitrification reactor in the sludge return line, the so-called BABE reactor. This reactor can be fed with an internal N-rich flow (e.g. effluent from the sludge treatment). Hence the nitrification capacity of an activated sludge process can be augmented by the addition of nitrifiers cultivated in the BABE reactor. A full-scale test of the BABE technology has been at the treatment plant Garmerwolde in Groningen, the Netherlands. The set-up allowed comparing between three different lines: with the BABE reactor, without rejectwater and with untreated rejectwater. Based on this, the two important tasks (N-removal and inoculation) performed by the BABE reactor could be quantified. The results of the practical work in Garmerwolde showed a higher nitrification rate in the water line where the BABE reactor was implemented and also lower effluent ammonia. The experiments on a practical scale have demonstrated univocally the effective and stable operation of the BABE technology. In addition, sludge samples in different streams as well as from the BABE reactor were analysed with FISH technique. The FISH results illustrated the augmentation effect of the BABE reactor on the stream with the BABE reactor. A mathematical model, based on ASM1 model and implemented in AQUASIM was developed and used for simulating the treatment plant of Garmerwolde. The simulation results indicated that better effect of the BABE technology is expected at lower ambient temperatures and smaller volume of the BABE reactor. The BABE reactor could also allow for providing more space for de-nitrification in the main water line when nitrification is efficient enough.

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