Nitrifying MBBR Performance Optimization in Temperate Climates Through Understanding Biofilm Morphology and Microbiome

Bradley Young, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
2017
Nitrification is currently the most common means of ammonia removal from wastewaters in temperate climates. In conventional suspended growth systems operating in northern climate regions, nitrification completely ceases at temperatures below 8°C. This is a considerable concern in passive treatment systems where wastewater temperatures can reach as low as 1°C for extended periods in the winter months. There is evidence biofilm technologies have the ability to nitrify at low temperatures,
more » ... mperatures, however, the literature is missing an understanding of low temperature nitrification and the subsequent impacts during seasonal changes. Additionally, there is an urgent need to gain a fundamental knowledge of the interplay between nitrifying performance optimization, biofilm morphology and the microbiome. This research aims to fill these needs using nitrifying moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) at the lab and pilot scale. This research concluded the most important factor determining MBBR carrier selection is a combination of surface area and pore space size. Although high surface area to volume carriers are attractive, the propensity to clog at high loading rates significantly decreases the removal rates. The viability of the biomass and ammonia oxidizing bacterial communities were not significantly changed, indicating the ammonia removal rates were reduced due to loss of surface area in the clogged carriers. Operation at 1°C demonstrated significant rates of nitrification can be attained and stable for extended periods of operation. This study developed the first kinetic curve at 1°C with a maximum removal rate of 0.35 gN/m2·d. The performance of the post carbon removal nitrifying MBBR systems were shown to be enhanced at 1°C by an increase in the viable embedded biomass as well as thicker biofilm. This effectively increased the number of viable cells present during low temperature operation, which partially compensated for the significant decrease in rate of ammonia removal per nitrifying cell. At all studied loading rates at [...]
doi:10.20381/ruor-20281 fatcat:sm2qpoqubja3jb3v6wa4yyhh7y