Two-stage activated sludge plants succeed in stable treatment efficiency concerning carbon removal and nitrification with far less reactor tank volume than conventional single stage systems. In case of large treatment plants this fact is of great economic relevance. Because of the very small specific volume of these two-stage treatment plants in comparison with low loaded single-stage plants, internal cycles have to be applied to ensure sufficient nitrogen removal. Due to these internal cycles two stage activated sludge plants offer many possibilities in terms of process management which results in new process optimisation procedures as compared to conventional single-stage nutrient removal treatment plants. The proposed extension concept for the Main Treatment Plant of Vienna was validated with pilot plant investigations especially with regard to nitrogen removal where it proved to comply with the legal requirements. The operation of the treatment plant can easily be adapted to changes in temperature and sludge volume index occurring in full scale practice. Sludge retention time and aerobic volume in the second stage are controlled in order to secure sufficient nitrification capacity and to optimise nitrogen removal by means of the variation of the loading conditions for the two stages. The investigations confirmed that the specific two-stage activated sludge concept applied in Vienna is an economically advantageous alternative for large wastewater treatment plants with stringent requirements for nitrification and nutrient removal.

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