Pilot-scale demonstration of efficient ammonia removal from a high-strength municipal wastewater treatment sidestream by algal-bacterial biofilms affixed to rotating contactors

Daniel B. Johnson, Lance C. Schideman, Thomas Canam, Robert J.M. Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This report details our investigation of a novel, fixed-biofilm algal and bacterial system for the treatment of high-strength municipal anaerobic digester filtrate. Each reactor in the pilot-scale system comprises multiple Algaewheel™ rotating algal contactors (RACs) that help efficiently oxygenate the anaerobic digester filtrate being treated in a shallow tank. Total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) removal by microbial oxidation and anabolic uptake varied between 45 and 60% at hydraulic retention times (HRTs) of 0.5–2 days. Of the TAN removed during treatment, >95% was oxidized to nitrite with 27–36% subsequently evolved as N2 and only 3–11% oxidized to nitrate. The low extent of nitrate formation makes biological nutrient removal less costly, since nitrite reduction demands less oxygen, by 25%, and organic carbon, by 40%, than nitrate reduction. In addition, due to the efficient aeration by RACs, it should be possible to design systems for sidestream treatment of digester filtrate that require up to 80% less electricity than are typical for aerobic ammonia oxidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalAlgal Research
Volume34
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Algae biofilm
  • Anaerobic digester centrate
  • DIC limitation
  • Filtrate
  • High-strength ammonia
  • Nitritation
  • Sidestream treatment
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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