The feasibility of an autotrophic denitrification process in an activated sludge reactor, using sulphide as the electron donor, was tested for simultaneous denitrification and sulphide removal. The reactor was operated at nitrate (N) to sulphide (S) ratios between 0.5 and 0.9 to evaluate their effect on theN-removal efficiency, the S-removal efficiency and the product formation during anoxic oxidation of sulphide. One hundred per cent removal of both nitrate and sulphide was achieved at a NLR of 7.96 mmol N·L−1·d−1 (111.44 mg NO3-N·L−1·d−1) and at a N/S ratio of 0.89 with complete oxidation of sulphide to sulphate. The oxygen level in the reactor (10%) was found to influence the N-removal efficiency by inhibiting the denitrification process. Moreover, chemical (or biological) oxidation of sulphide with oxygen occurred, resulting in a loss of the electron donor. FISH analysis was carried out to study the microbial population in the system.

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