Handbook Biological Wastewater Treatment - Design of Activated Sludge Systems

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Phosphorus Removal

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The main problem associated with the presence of phosphorus in water is that it, being a nutrient required for growth, is often responsible for the extravagant growth of aquatic life, also called eutrophication. This reduces the quality of the receiving water and the suitability for reuse. For this reason in many countries effluent standards have been implemented with regard to phosphorus.

Initially the methods used for phosphorus removal were all based on physical-chemical treatment, especially the addition of metal salts. There are several important disadvantages to chemical phosphorus removal:

  • The high costs of the consumed chemicals
  • A significant increase of the excess sludge production (metal-hydroxides and metal phosphates)
  • The accumulation of ions (increased salt content) may seriously restrict the reuse of the effluent.

At present, the preferred alternative is biological excess phosphorus removal, where the activated sludge system is operated in such a way that a biomass with an increased phosphorus content develops. The accumulated phosphorus is subsequently removed from the wastewater through discharge with the excess sludge. If the biological removal capacity is insufficient, supplementary chemical dosing may be applied.

Contents of this section

Biological phosphorus (bio-P) removal

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Optimisation of nutrient removal:

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Chemical phosphorus removal

  • Theoretical principles and stoichiometry of chemical phosphorus removal
  • Advantages and disadvantages of common system configurations: pre-, simultaneous- and post-precipitation.
  • Design procedure integrated in the steady state model of the activated sludge system.

Nutrient removal - design case

  • Presentation of the accumulated theory on nutrient removal in the sections on organic, nitrogen en phosphorus removal in a design case of no less than 13 pages.
  • Design of a nutrient removal activated sludge system in different configurations for phosporus removal: preprecipitation, simultaneous precipitation and bio-P removal.

We regret that the sections on "Chemical phosphorus removal" and the "Nutrient removal design case" are not available as a free online resource. If you want to know more, please purchase the handbook. More info ?

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