Anammox is one of the newest technologies for treating both ammonia and nitrite in wastewater. In the past operators running systems with long sludge ages noticed that nitrification did not consume as much oxygen and alkalinity as was calculated by normal Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter ammonia oxidation. Furthermore, the denitrification process to remove nitrate/nitrite had less of both compounds entering the anoxic/anaerobic zone. What was happening?
Anaerobic Ammonia Oxidation (ANAMMOX) is pictured in the nitrogen cycle graphic at left. The process is as follows (forgive the lack of subscript):
NH4 + NO2 --> N2 + 2H2O
The microbes responsible for ANAMMOX conversion of ammonia and nitrite have been recently isolated and we are still in the process of understanding their microbiology in wastewater. Here is what we know:
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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