The purpose of this project was to investigate the effect of selective particle removal during primary treatment on nitrogen removal in moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs). Two small MBBR pilot plants were operated in parallel, where one train treated 2 mm screened municipal wastewater and the other train treated wastewater that had passed through a Salsnes Filter SF1000 rotating belt sieve (RBS) with a 33 µs sieve cloth. The SF1000 was operated without a filter mat on the belt. The tests confirmed that, for the wastewater characteristics at the test plant, Salsnes Filter primary treatment with a 33 µs RBS and no filter mat produced a primary effluent that was close to optimum. Removal of organic matter with the 33 µs sieve had no negative effect on the denitrification process. Nitrification rates improved by 10–15% in the train with 33 µs RBS primary treatment. Mass balance calculations showed that without RBS primary treatment, the oxygen demand in the biological system was 36% higher. Other studies have shown that the sludge produced by RBS primary treatment is beneficial for biogas production and will also significantly improve sludge dewatering of the combined primary and biological sludge.

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