Activated Sludge Models (ASMs) are widely used for biological wastewater treatment plant design, optimisation and operation. In commonly used ASMs, the nitrification process is modelled as a one-step process. However, in some process configurations, it is desirable to model the concentration of nitrite nitrogen through a two-step nitrification process. In this study, the benchmark datasets published by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) were used to develop a two-step nitrification model considering the kinetics of Ammonium Oxidising Bacteria (AOB) and Nitrite Oxidising Bacteria (NOB). The WERF datasets were collected from a chemostat reactor fed about 1,000 mg-NH3-N/L synthetic influent with at different sludge retention times of 20, 10 and 5-d, whereas the pH in the reactor varied in the range of 5.8 and 8.8. Supplemental laboratory batch experiments were conducted to assess the toxicity of nitrite-N on nitrifying bacteria. These tests suggested that 500 mg-N/L of nitrite at pH 7.3 was toxic to NOB and resulted in continuous decrease in bulk oxygen uptake rate. To model this phenomenon, a poisoning model was used instead of the traditional Haldane-type inhibition model. The poisoning model for NOB and AOB with different threshold poisonings for unionised NO2-N and NH3-N concentrations could successfully reproduce the three WERF datasets.

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