Comparative study on different Anammox systems

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: The legal requirements for wastewater discharge into environment, especially to zones exposed to eutrophication, lately became stricter. Nowadays wastewater treatment plants have to manage with the new rules and assure better biogenic elements’ removal, in comparison with the past. There are some well-known methods of diminishing concentrations of these compounds, but they are ineffective in case of nitrogen-rich streams, as landfill leachate or reject waters from dewatering of digested sludge. This wastewater disturbs conventional processes of nitrification-denitrification and raise necessity of building bigger tanks. The partial nitritation followed by Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation (Anammox) process appear to be an excellent alternative for traditional nitrification/denitrification. The process was investigated in three different reactors – Membrane Bioreactor (MBR), Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) and Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC). The process was evaluated in two options: as a two-stage process performed in two separate reactors and as a one-stage process. The two-step process, in spite of very low nitrogen removal rates, assured very high nitrogen removal efficiency, exceeding even 90% in case of the MBBR. However, obtained results revealed that the one-step system is a better option than the two-step system, no matter, what kind of nitrogen-rich stream is taken into consideration. Moreover, the one-step process was much less complicated in operation. Performed research confirmed a hypothesis, that the oxygen concentration in the bulk liquid and the nitrite production rate are the limiting factors for the Anammox reaction in a single reactor. In order to make a quick and simple determination of bacteria activity, the Oxygen Uptake Rate (OUR) tests were shown as an excellent tool for evaluation of the current bacteria activity reliably, and without a need of using expensive reagents. It was also shown, that partial nitritation/Anammox process, could be successfully applied at temperatures much lower than the optimum value. Performed Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (FISH) analyses, proved that the Anammox bacteria were mainly responsible for the nitrogen removal process.