Enhanced nutrient removal by oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) control in laboratory-scale extended aeration reactors

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  • C. W. Yu
  • C. K. Lo
  • S. Traynor
  • N. F Y Tam


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-335
Journal / PublicationResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 1994


A study was conducted to examine N and P removal by a laboratory-scale extended aeration treatment system employing oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) controlled aeration. The system was provided with a 90-L aeration tank. When ORP controlled aeration was applied, the aeration tank was divided into three zones, namely the ORP zone (45 L), the anaerobic zone (27 L) and the aerobic zone (18 L). An external anoxic selector of 3.8 L in volume was also added. An ORP set point of 70 mV was used for the ORP zone. The extended aeration treatment system operating without the ORP controlled aeration was used as the control. COD removal (97%) was not affected, but both N and P removal were enhanced significantly in the ORP reactor. Total N removal efficiency was increased from 49.1% (control) to 83.5%. Almost all P was captured (99%), leaving an average of 0.09 mg L-1 P in the effluent. The ORP reactor yielded a sludge P content of 3.1%, compared to only 1.8% for the control. This indicated luxury P uptake in ORP reactor. Very significant P release and denitrification were found in the anoxic selector. Fairly good simultaneous nitrification and denitrification had occurred in the ORP zone. However, P release was very limited in the anoxic zone. However, anoxic P uptake and nitrification were found in this zone. Low F/M bulking was observed in both the control and ORP operation before the installation of a selector. Bacterial Type 0041 was identified as the predominant bulking organism. For the Control, an aerobic selector cured the bulking problem in one sludge age while an anoxic selector fixed up the problem during the ORP operation. © 1994.

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