A simulation-based optimisation approach to control nitrogen discharge by activated sludge under winter seasonal peak load

  • JM Choubert
  • Y Racault
  • A Grasmick
  • JP Canler Canler
  • A Heduit


Wastewater treatment systems located in cold areas are under increasing pressure to remove nitrogen from their wastewater. As constraining operating conditions like dramatic influent load increases exacerbated by cold temperatures can occur (e.g. winter tourist resorts, ski resorts), specific technical treatment solutions have to be adapted. The objective of this research is to determine the maximal magnitude of load variation which can be applied in winter to an activated sludge treatment system. It aims at analyzing the effects of high influent load variations on the nitrogen removal capacity. Two operating strategies are investigated by dynamic simulations performed with ASM1: • A fixed aeration tank volume with a fixed MLTSS concentration • A variable aeration volume tank with a variable MLTSS concentration It is demonstrated that the variable aeration tank volume strategy is more efficient than the fixed volume strategy to face long-term peak load. To meet an effluent ammonia nitrate concentration of below 10 mgN·ℓ-1, a maximum input load increase by a factor 2 should be applied with the first strategy; whereas with the second strategy a load increase by a factor 4 should be applied (with constant oxygen presence time). If the oxygen presence time can be increased by 50% the maximum input load increase could reach a factor 6.

Water SA Vol.32 (4) 2006: pp.561-566

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eISSN: 0378-4738