Role of air scouring in anaerobic/anoxic tanks providing nitrogen removal by mainstream anammox conversion in a hybrid biofilm/suspended growth full-scale WWTP in China

Quan Yuan*, Beiping He, Liang Qian, Helen Littleton, Glen T. Daigger, Mark van Loosdrecht, George F. Wells, Kaijun Wang, Hulin Cai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A full-scale wastewater treatment plant in China experienced unintentional anammox bacterial enrichment on biofilm carriers placed in the anaerobic and anoxic zones of an anaerobic/anoxic/oxic process under ambient temperatures and without bioaugmentation. Here, we show that microaerophilic conditions resulting from air scouring needed for biofilm carrier suspension in the anaerobic/anoxic zones can support a robust nitritation/anammox process. Results from an in situ on/off air scouring test showed that air scouring strongly induced both ammonia and total inorganic nitrogen removal in the anaerobic/anoxic zones. Ammonium concentration in the anaerobic and anoxic tanks remained constant or even slightly increased when air scouring was off, indicating that air scouring made a noticeable difference in nitrogen profiles in the anaerobic/anoxic zones. Various batch tests further indicated that partial denitrification is not likely to generate nitrite for anammox bacteria. Robust nitritation, and anammox on the carriers, can occur at low dissolved oxygen conditions, as measured in the full-scale facility. The observations show that mainstream deammonification without sidestream bioaugmentation at moderate temperature is feasible and further optimization by a more dedicated design can result in improved nitrogen removal in cases when chemical oxygen demand is limited in mainstream wastewater treatment. Practitioner points: Microaerophilic conditions in a full-scale IFAS reactor caused mainstream anammox in moderate temperate area. Robust nitritation, and anammox on the carriers, can occur at low dissolved oxygen conditions in anaerobic/anoxic tanks with air scouring. Anammox can function well with conventional nitrification and denitrification process at mainstream conditions for stable nitrogen removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2198-2209
Number of pages12
JournalWater Environment Research
Volume93
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • IFAS
  • SND
  • air scouring
  • mainstream anammox
  • partial nitritation/anammox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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