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Project ID: 2004PA29B

Title: Nutrient Removal of a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) Treating Wastewater with Potential for Water Reclamation

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Treatment, Nitrate Contamination

Keywords: nitrogen removal, sequencing batch reactor (SBR), water reclamation, nitrification, denitrification, nitrifiers, redox potential

Start Date: 03/01/2004

End Date: 02/28/2005

Federal Funds: $14,962

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $30,000

Congressional District: 17th of PA

Principal Investigator:
Baikun Li


The overall vision for this research is to optimize a cost- and space-effective biological nutrient removal (BNR) system to remove nitrogen from wastewater for water reuse. The ultimate goal is to protect natural water resources and reduce energy consumption in wastewater treatment. Ammonia/nitrate pollution of surface water and groundwater has been a significant problem in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay watershed for many years. The deteriorated natural water resource is the main obstacle for water reuse necessary to save water consumption in Pennsylvania. Nitrification/denitrification in biological wastewater treatment is the approach commonly used to remove nitrogen from wastewater. However, this process needs large amounts of space, long treatment time, and has a high operational cost, and the performance is not stable.

It is critical to develop an innovative cost- and space-effective process in order to solve low nitrogen removal efficiency, and if possible, to provide high effluent quality for water reclamation. Current research conducted in the Environmental Engineering Laboratories at Penn State Harrisburg aims at enhancing nitrogen removal by the sequencing batch reactor (SBR). Compared with conventional biological wastewater treatment processes, the SBR has several distinct advantages: 1. the SBR process converts the conventional wastewater treatment processes from space-course to time-course, which substantially reduces the space occupation. This feature especially makes the SBR suitable for small community wastewater treatment. 2. the SBR operation sections (aeration, anoxic reaction, settling, etc.) are auto-controlled which offer the easiness and flexibility to adjust the SBR operation for different treatment requirements.

With the objective of enhancing nitrogen removal efficiency from wastewater, this research will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 consists of laboratory studies to evaluate the SBR nitrogen removal efficiency when treating low concentration wastewater (municipal wastewater) and high concentration wastewater (agricultural wastewater). The optimization of nitrification/ denitrification by adjusting aeration intensity, aeration duration, and anoxic duration will be investigated. The study will establish the relationships between the SBR performance (including organic removal, nitrogen removal, and sludge settlebility), and oxygen consumption and operation cycles. Phase 2 consists of laboratory studies to examine the nitrogen removal in the SBR system under influent shock. Two inhibitors for nitrification will be added into influent to test the SBR nitrification stability. The study will provide information for the adjustment of SBR operation cycles, and test the feasibility of SBR handling nitrogen removal under influent shock.

Use of the SBR for nitrogen removal is currently applicable for community and agricultural wastewater treatment, but optimization of operation and on-line control is far from completion. The outcome of this research will provide useful guidance for the optimization of the SBR operation and energy savings for contaminant removal from wastewater with potential for water reuse. This project is supported by Penn State Harrisburg, Cromaglass Inc. (the equipment manufacture) and Skelly & Loy (the consulting firm supporting the equipment).

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last Updated: Wednesday July 13, 2005 4:52 PM
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