I am going to start a series on biological nutrient removal – in this case we are referring to ammonia, nitrate/nitrite, and phosphorous. Each component of nutrient removal requires differing microbes and environmental conditions. To allow for each to occur in a wastewater system requires a combination of engineering and operational techniques. In the following series of posts, I will go through the basic biological concepts and how we can influence microbial activity & treatment efficiency.
Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) reduces the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous discharged from water treatment plants. BNR is usually subdivided into:
· Nitrification – biological conversion of ammonia nitrogen into less harmful nitrate nitrogen.
· Denitrification – conversion of nitrate/nitrite nitrogen into nitrogen gas ~ this actually removes the nitrogen from the water.
· Biological Phosphorus Removal – certain microbial cells uptake phosphate in excess. These cells with high phosphate stored are wasted into biosolids, thereby removing phosphate from the water discharge.
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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