To understand the possibilities and limitations of the treatment of concentrated nitrate in wastewater, a space-saving biofilm process was introduced to investigate how efficiently concentrated nitrate was utilized in a biofilm process. Lab-scale submerged biofilters stuffed with plastic pall-ring media were developed for the treatment of wastewater containing high nitrate concentration. Two identical biofilters were operated at 2 and 4 hr media HRT in parallel and the concentration of nitrate in the influent was increased stepwise from 50 to 3000 mg-N/L. The concentration of NOx in the effluent was measured at various volumetric loading rates that were proportional to influent nitrate concentrations. There was a critical point for volumetric loading rate (9 kg NO3–N/m3/day) distinguishing the biofilter performances. At the volumetric loading rate below this critical point, the effluent NOx concentration was maintained steadily in spite of the drastic change in the loading rates. However, the effluent NOx concentration severely fluctuated for the small change when the loading rate was higher than the critical point. It was found that the reactor performance was closely related with the biomass concentration (g-dw/ring) in the biofilters.

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