Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013IN356B

Attached-Growth Lagoons for Wastewater Nitrification in Small Communities

Institute: Indiana
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $173,132

Principal Investigators: Ernest Blatchley, Ronald Turco

Abstract: Biochemical nitrification in conventional lagoon systems tends to be unreliable, particularly during periods of extended cold weather. However, new and impending discharge permit limitations for NH3-N are likely to require nitrification for wastewater treatment systems in small communities. While construction of a mechanical (package) plant should allow this treatment objective to be met, the costs and complexity of these systems are likely to represent unacceptable burdens for many small communities. Therefore, systems are needed to accomplish reliable nitrification using methods that are consistent with the economic and technical backgrounds of small communities. A system based on the promotion of attached-growth has been developed by Bradley Environmental, LLC (BE) that appears to have promise in meeting these objectives. In this system, referred to by the trade name BOBBER, water is aggressively recirculated through a hollow sphere (the BOBBER) that is packed with a high-specific-surface-area medium, thereby promoting the establishment of an attached microbial community. Preliminary experiments with the BOBBER system have yielded promising results; however, these results do not provide conclusive evidence of the ability of this system to meet treatment objectives during periods of extended cold weather, nor have they provided basic design criteria to allow broad application of the technology. Experiments are planned with a small-scale version of the BOBBER system to examine process performance. These experiments are intended to define temperature-dependence and loading capabilities with respect to nitrification in the system. When combined with data from field experiments, and with studies that are to be conducted in parallel at existing lagoon systems, the results of this work are also expected to allow for definition of a general design protocol.