Bench scale experiments and pilot plant studies (20 m3/day) on a side stream biological nutrient removal process (P/L process) were conducted for 3 years using primary effluent of two different sewage treatment plants as influent. The phosphorus removal efficiency was always higher than 90% resulting in an effluent T-P concentration lower than 0.5 mg/l while total nitrogen removal efficiency of the P/L process was less than 50%. However, total nitrogen removal efficiency could be improved to 88% with some modification of the process.

The presence of nitrate nitrogen higher than 2 mg/l in the phosphorus stripping tank significantly reduced the phosphorus release in the stripping tank. Phosphorus content of the sludge in the aeration basin was about 30% higher than that of the phosphorus stripping tank, however, phosphorus content in the aeration basin could become higher by recycling portions of the phosphorus rich supernatant to the aeration basin to utilize the phosphorus uptake capacity of the sludge in aerobic conditions more efficiently and also to reduce the alum requirement.