Experimental studies were carried out on a bench-scale nitrogen removal system with a predenitrification configuration to gain insights into the spatial and temporal variations of DO, pH and ORP in such systems. It is demonstrated that these signals correlate strongly with the operational states of the system, and could therefore be used as system performance indicators. The DO concentration in the first aerobic zone, when receiving constant aeration, and the net pH change between the last and first aerobic zones display strong correlations with the influent ammonia concentration for the domestic wastewater used in this study. The pH profile along the aerobic zones gives good indication on the extent of nitrification. The experimental results also showed a good correlation between ORP values in the last aerobic zone and effluent ammonia and nitrate concentrations, provided that DO in this zone is controlled at a constant level. These results suggest that the DO, pH and ORP sensors could potentially be used as alternatives to the on-line nutrient sensors for the control of continuous systems. An idea of using a fuzzy inference system to make an integrated use of these signals for on-line aeration control is presented and demonstrated on the bench-scale system with promising results. The use of these sensors has to date only been demonstrated in intermittent systems, such as sequencing batch reactor systems.

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