This study was undertaken to optimise phosphorus removal by incorporating a chemical dosing facility in an existing biological nutrient removal activated sludge plant at Albury in Australia. Results of pilot plant trials and jar tests indicated that both alum and ferric chloride successfully reduced the orthophosphate concentrations with only a minor variation in the chemical costs. However, alum was chosen as the preferred chemical for use in the full-scale plant and tests showed that alum precipitation combined with biological nutrient removal lowered the orthophosphate (ortho-P) concentrations to as low as 0.01 mg/L with average total phosphorus (total-P) levels of around 0.5 mg/L. It is concluded that maximising total phosphorus removal in the treatment plant would require optimising biological phosphorus removal, applying correct chemical dosages to varying mixed liquor orthophosphate concentrations, adequate mixing, suitable pH values and minimising suspended solids in the clarifier effluent.

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