Large concentrations and oscillations of ammonium nitrogen (NH4+-N) in municipal landfill leachate pose considerable constraints to its further treatment in central wastewater treatment plants. The aim of this study was to evaluate and optimize two technologies for the pre-treatment of 600 L/day of landfill leachate: in particular, to optimize their operational conditions for NH4+-N removal up to a level appropriate for discharge to sewers, i.e. <200 mg/L. Both technologies were based on a sequencing batch reactor (SBR), with two different biomass processes: (A) SBR with dispersed/flocculated biomass and (B) SBR with biomass attached to carriers. The results revealed that both technologies successfully reduced the NH4+-N from 666 mg/L (on average) at the inflow to below 10 mg/L at the outflow with alkalinity adjustment in a 12-hour cycle. Both technologies achieved 96% removal efficiencies for NH4+-N. However, SBR with dispersed biomass showed higher flexibility under varying conditions due to the shorter adaptation time of the biomass.

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