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Nitrogen removal in maturation WSP ponds via biological\ud uptake and sedimentation of dead biomass

By M.A. Camargo Valero, D.D. Mara and R.J. Newton


In this work a set of experiments was undertaken in a pilot-scale WSP system to determine the importance of organic nitrogen sedimentation on ammonium and total nitrogen removals in maturation ponds and its seasonal variation under British weather conditions. Two maturation\ud ponds in series (M1 and M2) were monitored seasonally from September 2004 to May 2007. The nitrogen content in collected sediment samples varied from 4.17 to 6.78 percent (dry weight) and calculated nitrogen sedimentation rates ranged from 291 to 2,868 g N/ha d in M1 and from 273 to\ud 2,077 g N/ha d in M2. The increment of chlorophyll-a in M1 and M2 maturation pond effluents had a very good correlation with the corresponding increment of VSS (algal biomass) and suspended organic nitrogen; therefore, the occurrence of biological (algal) nitrogen uptake was\ud confirmed. After sedimentation of the dead algal biomass, it was clear that algal-cell nitrogen was recycled from the sludge layer into the pond water column. An important portion (51% in M1 and 39% in M2) of the nitrogen taken up by the in-pond algae was finally accumulated as sludge after\ud anaerobic digestion. Biological (mainly algal) uptake of inorganic nitrogen species and further sedimentation of dead biomass is one of the major mechanisms controlling ammonium and nitrogen removal in maturation WSP, particularly when environmental and operational conditions are favourable for algal growth

Year: 2009
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