In wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) equipped with sludge digestion and dewatering systems, the reject water originating from these facilities contributes significantly to the nitrogen load of the activated sludge tanks, to which it is typically recycled. In this paper, the impact of reject water streams on the performance of a WWTP is assessed in a simulation study, using the Benchmark Simulation Model no. 2 (BSM2), that includes the processes describing sludge treatment and in this way allows for plant-wide evaluation. Comparison of performance of a WWTP without reject water with a WWTP where reject water is recycled to the primary clarifier, i.e. the BSM2 plant, shows that the ammonium load of the influent to the primary clarifier is 28% higher in the case of reject water recycling. This results in violation of the effluent total nitrogen limit. In order to relieve the main wastewater treatment plant, reject water treatment with a combined SHARON-Anammox process seems a promising option. The simulation results indicate that significant improvements of the effluent quality of the main wastewater treatment plant can be realized. An economic evaluation of the different scenarios is performed using an Operating Cost Index (OCI).

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