Facilities across North America are designing plants to meet stringent limits of technology (LOT) treatment for nitrogen removal (3–5 mg/L total effluent nitrogen). The anoxic capacity requirements for meeting LOT treatment are dependent on the growth rates of the denitrifying organisms. The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP) is one of many facilities in the Chesapeake Bay region that is evaluating its ability to meet LOT treatment capability. The plant uses methanol as an external carbon source in a post-denitrification process. The process is very sensitive to denitrification in the winter. One approach to improve anoxic capacity utilization is to use an alternative substrate for denitrification in the winter to promote the growth of organisms that denitrify at higher rates. The aim of this study was to evaluate denitrification maximum specific growth rates for three substrates, acetate, corn syrup and methanol, at two temperatures (13 °C and 19 °C). These temperatures approximately reflect the minimum monthly and average annual wastewater temperature at the Blue Plains AWTP. The results suggest that the maximum specific growth rate (μmax) for corn syrup (1.3 d−1) and acetate (1.2 d−1) are higher than that for methanol (0.5 d−1) at low temperature of 13 °C. A similar trend was observed at 19 °C.

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