Biological nutrient removal requires sufficient carbon source. Meanwhile, the removal of organic matter in wastewater requires energy consumption in the aeration tank. Carbon source for nutrient removal in most wastewater treatment plants with conventional primary clarifier (CPC) is generally insufficient in China. In order to increase carbon source and to save energy, a part of the CPC may be retrofitted as an activated primary clarifier (APC). In this paper, a pilot scale experiment was conducted to examine the performance of primary sludge fermentation and its effect on nitrogen and phosphorus removal. Results show that the primary sludge fermentation in APC has produced a similar VFA/TP ratio but a higher BOD5/TN ratio compared with those in the CPC effluent, and the TN concentrations in the secondary effluent are at 8.0, 10.8, and 17.4 mg/L, while TP is at 0.45, 1.10, and 2.28 mg/L when the pilot test system was fed with (1) the APC effluent, (2) 50% from the APC effluent and 50% from the CPC effluent, and (3) the CPC effluent, respectively. Results also indicate that the BOD5/TN ratio is a more sensitive factor than the VFA/TP ratio for nutrient removal and energy conservation for the APC fermentation.

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