Using ozonation and alternating redox potential to increase nitrogen and estrogen removal while decreasing waste activated sludge production
Dytczak, Magdalena Anna
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The effectiveness of partial ozonation of return activated sludge for enhancing denitrification and waste sludge minimization were examined. A pair of nitrifying sequencing batch reactors was operated in either aerobic or alternating anoxic/aerobic conditions, with one control and one ozonated reactor in each set. The amount of solids decreased with the ozone dose. Biomass in the anoxic/aerobic reactor was easier to destroy than in the aerobic one, generating approximately twice as much soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) by cell lysis. Increased COD favoured production of extracellular polymers in ozonated reactors, enhancing flocculation and improving settling. Floc stability was also strengthened in prolonged operation in alternating treatment, resulting in declined solids destruction. Dewaterability was better in alternating reactors than in aerobic ones indicating that incorporation of an anoxic zone for biological nutrient removal leads to improvement in sludge dewatering. The negative impact of ozonation on dewaterability was minimal in terms of the long-term operation. Ozone successively destroyed indicator estrogenic compounds, contributing to total estrogen removal from wastewater. Denitrification rate improved up to 60% due to additional carbon released by ozonation. Nitrification rates deteriorated much more in the aerobic than in the alternating reactor, possibly as a result of competition created by growth of heterotrophs receiving the additional COD. Overall, ozonation provided the expected benefits and had less negative impacts on processes in the alternating treatment, although after prolonged operation, benefits could become less significant. The alternating anoxic/aerobic reactor achieved twice the nitrification rates of its aerobic counterpart. Higher removal rates of estrogens were associated with higher nitrification rates, supporting the contention that the nitrifying biomass was responsible for their removal. The alternating treatment offered the better estrogen biodegradation. Microbial populations in both reactors were examined with fluorescent in situ hybridization. Dominance of rapid nitrifiers like Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter (79.5%) in the alternating reactor, compared to a dominance of slower nitrifiers like Nitrosospira and Nitrospira (78.2%) in the aerobic reactor were found. The findings are important to design engineers, as reactors are typically designed based on nitrifiers’ growth rate determined in strictly aerobic conditions.