The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has been engaged in a continuous process to develop a nitrogen removal program to reduce the nitrogen mass discharge from its water pollution control plants, (WPCPs), from 49,158 kg/d to 20,105 kg/d by the year 2017 as recommended by the Long Island Sound Study. As part of the process, a comprehensive research effort was undertaken involving bench, pilot and full scale studies to identify the most effective way to upgrade and optimize the existing WPCPs. Aeration tank 13 (AT-13) at the Wards Island WPCP was particularly attractive as a full-scale research facility because its aeration tank with its dedicated final settling tanks and RAS pumps could be isolated from the remaining treatment facilities. The nitrogen removal performance of AT-13, which, at the time, was operated as a “basic step feed BNR Facility”, was evaluated and concurrently nitrification kinetic parameters were measured using in-situ bench scale experiments. Additional bench scale experiments provided denitrification rates using different sources of carbon and measurement of the maximum specific growth rate of nitrifying bacteria. The combined findings were then used to upgrade AT-13 to a “full” BNR facility with carbon and alkalinity addition. This paper will focus on the combined bench and full scale results that were the basis for the consequent upgrade.

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