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Chapter No. 6. Innovative nitrogen removal


In the past decades activated sludge nutrient removal has been explored, tested and widely introduced. However, the growing public concern for environmental protection has lead to the implementation of continuously increasing effluent standards. This in turn has impelled efforts to achieve better effluent quality especially with regard to nitrogen removal. As a consequence, existing wastewater treatment plants will require upgrading and thus large expansions to meet new standards not often feasible due to land or space limitations. Research towards new techniques for upgrading treatment plants without the need for expansion of the existing volumes has therefore increased in the last decade. Treatment of internal process flows with high ammonia concentration provides good potential for upgrading treatment plants since internal flows at the wastewater treatment plant (especially the return water from digested sludge treatment or sludge drying facilities) account for 10 to 30% of the total N-load. At larger plants with centralised sludge treatment facilities this contribution to the nitrogen load is especially high.

Taking advantage of the wastewater characteristics and operating conditions of those side stream processes (such as high ammonium concentrations and high temperature), several processes and technologies have been studied and brought up to the activated sludge market over the last years: SHARON (a simple system for N-removal over nitrite), Anammox (fully autotrophic N-removal), CANON (combination of nitritation and anaerobic ammonia oxidation), and BABE (bioaugmentation with endogenous nitrifiers), among others.

The current chapter presents and introduces the different principles, concepts and operating aspects of the SHARON, Anammox, CANON and BABE processes. Although it mainly focuses on treatment of sludge digester effluents at municipal wastewater treatment plants, the discussed methods also can be applied to treatment of other concentrated nitrogen containing wastewaters such as industrial effluents, leachate or effluents from anaerobic digesters.

This course consists of 4 video lectures recorded by Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht from Delft University of Technology, in Delft, The Netherlands, on Innovative nitrogen removal technologies.

Time Framework for the Course: 1 week

Aims of the Course

  • To present the benefits of side-stream nitrogen removal processes in activated sludge wastewater treament plants.

  • To provide guidance for the selection of the most appropriate and feasible side-stream process according to local and operating needs and conditions.

  • To present an overview of the principles, fundamentales, characteristics, and operating and control aspects of: SHARON, ANNAMOX, combined SHARON-ANNAMOX and BABE processes.

Learning Objectives

After the succesful completion of this chapter the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss the principles, fundamentals, applicability, and design, operating and control aspects of innovative nitrogen removal processes.
Last modified: Saturday, 2 January 2016, 5:46 AM