A new nitrogen removal process (up-flow sludge blanket and aerobic filter, USB-AF) was proposed and tested with real sewage. In the USB reactor, the larger part of influent organic and nitrogen matters were removed, and ammonia was effectively oxidized in the subsequent aerobic filter. The role of the aerobic filter was to convert ammonia into nitrate, an electron acceptor that could convert soluble organic matters into volatile suspended solid (VSS) in the USB. The accumulated as well as influent VSS in the USB was finally degraded to fermented products that were another good carbon source for denitrification. Total COD, settleable COD and soluble COD in the raw sewage were 325, 80 and 140mg/l, respectively. Most unsettleable COD as well as some SCOD in the influent was successfully removed in the USB. TCOD removal in the anoxic filter was by denitrification with the recycled nitrate. Low COD input to the aerobic filter could increase nitrification efficiency, reduce the start-up period and save the aeration energy in the USB-AF system. About 95% of ammonia was nitrified in the aerobic filter with no relation to the influent ammonia concentration. Denitrification efficiency of the recycled nitrate in the anoxic filter was about 85, 83, and 72% at recycle ratios of 100, 200, and 300%, respectively. T-N removal efficiency was 70% at recycle ratio of 300%.

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