Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015ND301B

Evaluation of Bioavailable Dissolved Organic Nitrogen Using Various Algal Species

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $4,002 Total Non-Federal Funds: $8,004

Principal Investigators: Halis Simsek

Abstract: The city of Fargo, North Dakota, waste water treatment plant (WWTP) has an average flow of fifteen million gallons of wastewater per day. The plant operates a trickling filter process which includes removal of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), carbonaceous BOD and ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N). The plant does not have a denitrification process. Therefore, the final effluent contains high amount of nitrate, which is discharged into the Red River. In the future, regulatory agencies might force Fargo WWTP to reduce effluent total nitrogen, mostly nitrate and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), to below 10 mg/L. Using algae in a proper stage of the treatment plant helps to reduce effluent total dissolved oxygen (TDN) with low cost. Hence, to improve the quality of surface waters in ND and prevent eutrophication, it is necessary to remove nitrate, and bioavailable DON (ABDON)in the effluent using low cost techniques. The main scope of this study is to collect DON and ABDON data from three different locations of a trickling filter WWTP and two locations of two different animal feedlots to achieve the following objectives: 1. To reduce effluent DON and ABDON in a two-stage trickling filter WWTP, and in animal feedlots using two different algae species, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (C. reinhardtii), Chlorella vulgaris (C. vulgaris), and 2. To examine the DON and ABDON utilization efficiency using different combination of algae and/or bacteria. This research is expected to provide insight into improving the quality of surface waters in ND by minimizing the nutrient entrance to the water body from WWTPs and animal feedlots. Using algae to treat the wastewater is a natural and cost effective way. For the first time, different algal species will be used to examine the bioavailability of dissolved organic nitrogen in two-stage trickling filter WWTP. Furthermore; the results from this study might be used to design a small scale on-site wastewater treatment plant to treat wastewaters from feedlots and agricultural areas.