State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project Id: 2009ND191B
Title: Fate of Biodegradable Dissolved Organic Nitrogen in Fargo Wastewater
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 1
Focus Categories: Wastewater, Surface Water
Keywords: Biodegradability,Dissolved Organic Nitrogen, Fate, Wastewater
Principal Investigator: Eakalak, Khan (North Dakota State University)
Federal Funds: $ 6,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 12,000
Abstract: Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) usually represents a significant portion of nitrogen in the final effluent of wastewater treatment plants. Effluent DON can be as high as 1.1 to 2.1 mg/L compared to total nitrogen (TN) limits of 3 to 4 mg/L established by regulatory agencies for many treatment plants. The biodegradability of effluent DON is an important issue because BDON can support algal growth and/or consume dissolved oxygen. As a result, several wastewater treatment plants in the United States recently have started to monitor BDON in the final effluent to quantify how much of their effluent DON can potentially contribute to eutrophication and oxygen depletion in receiving waters. The fate of BDON through the Waste Water Treatment Plant, Fargo, North Dakota, has not been investigated in the past. In addition, there has been no report on effluent BDON from BOD and nitrification trickling filters since the process is less common in wastewater utilities. Although the Fargo WWTP is currently subjected to only a NH3-N discharge limit, it is possible that the plant will be regulated on other N species or TN in the near future due to the more demanding regulation trend. Limiting effluent BDON will be crucial to meet the future discharge permit and to improve the quality of the Red River. The objectives are to evaluate the eutrophication and oxygen depletion potentials of the Fargo WWTP effluent based on BDON content and photodegradability; and to examine BDON removal efficiency of different treatment units in the Fargo WWTP. In the first year, efforts were concentrated on analytical procedure trainings and practices. The BDON determination involves four measurements of different dissolved N species (TDN, DNH3-N, DNO2-N, and DNO3-N) at low levels and incubation. More samples will be collected from the Fargo WWTP this year to obtain the N species profiles particularly for BDON all year round. This will elucidate the seasonal effect on the N species profiles, particularly important because of high variations in temperature among different seasons in Fargo.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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