Dealing with intermittent aeration as a useful practice to improve nitrogen removal efficiency of activated sludge plants, the possibility to plan optimal temporisation during daytime was investigated. A mathematical model (NIDEN) that allows us to manage different situations, with respect to influent load, environmental conditions and operating strategy, was then developed. The model represents a useful tool especially to plan the aeration cycles in small and medium sized plants, where high costs of automatic control through on-line instrumentation might not be justified. Once the input variables have been defined and the set-point values for tank nutrient concentration have been fixed, NIDEN gives an optimal phase temporisation, to obtain either the maximum energy saving or the best total nitrogen removal.

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