Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 17-20
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.37B004
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Effect of External Carbon Source and Bed Turnover Rate on
Jihee So ng , Younghee Kim, Namjong Yoo
R&D Department, Ilshin Environmental Engineering Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea
Received 2012
This study investigated the effect of external carbon source and bed turnover rate on biological denitrifi-
cation in the pilot-scale IPNR (Ilshin Phosphorus and Nitrate Removal) process. IPNR process is an
up-flow reactor filled with Si-media which removes phosphorus physically and nitrate nitrogen biologi-
cally using secondary effluent from sewage treatment plant. Phosphorus (PO4-P) was removed using HFO
(Hydrous ferric oxide) by adsorption as well as nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) was transformed to nitrogen gas
(N2) by denitrifying bacteria using external carbon source in the same reactor. Methanol was used as an
external carbon source for denitrification with various dosing concentration and Si-media bed turnover
rate was varied from 6.4 ~ 7.75 day-1. The concentrations of PO4-P and NO3-N in the secondary effluent
were from 0.1 to 1.75 mg/L and from 1.1 to 31.9 mg/L, respectively. The results demonstrated that high
amount of NO3-N removed from 31.9 to 1.2 mg/L, at the same time PO4-P removed from 1.75 to
0.41mg/L using secondary effluent. Denitrification was found more stable with 6.4 bed turnover/day and
130% over dosing of theoretical methanol dose for denitrification.
Keywords: Denitrification; Carbon Source; Bed Turnover Rate; Phosphorus Removal
One of the major conce rns for wastewater trea t me nt is removal
of phosphorus and nitrogen which could cause eutrophication in
river and lakes. According to EPA and Forsberg & Ryding, the
standard for eutrophication is 0.02 ~ 0.025 mg/L as T-P and 0.6
~ 1.5 mg/L as T-N [1,2], on the other hand, the water quality
regulation comprehenses 20 mg/L as T-N without winter ease
and 0.2 ~ 0.5 mg/L as T-P had been enforced recently in Korea
which means phosphorus and nitrogen needs to be removed
below water quality regulation to control eutrophication.
There are various processes operating in the world in order to
remove phosphorus and nitrogen commonly divided chemical
and biological treatment. Most of phosphorus removal process
uses flocculation with aluminum sulfate (Al2(SO4)3, alum),
PAC (Poly aluminium chloride), Fe2(SO4)3, FeCl3 and polymer
followed by sedimentation. Flocculation and sedimentation
process is simple and effective process for phosphorus removal
however high cost due to uses of plenty of flocculant [3]. Equa-
tion (1) and (2) show the formation of M-PO4-P precipitate
using aluminum or iron salts for flocculant [4].
Al2(SO3)314H2O+2H3(PO4) → 2Al(PO4)+3H2SO4+18H2O (1)
FeCl3(6H2O)+H2PO4+2HCO3 → FePO4+3Cl+2CO2+H2O (2)
Biological nitrogen removal process includes A/O (Anaero-
bic-Oxic), A 2/O, modified bardenpho, UCT (University of cape
town), phostrip, VIP (Virginia initiative plat), SBR (Seqencing
batch reacor), Bio-denipho and so on. These processes have
developed with long period throughout the world. Nevertheless,
operating these processes has some problem such as large site
needs for installation, a lot of uses of external carbon source for
denitrificaiton and unstable treatment results [5]. The principal
of nitrification and denitrification which uses various carbon
sources is well known in the world and it is shown below (3~6)
[6]. Ammonia oxidation to nitrate requires 4.57 g O2/g NH4-N
oxidized to NO3-N and consumes 7.14 g alkalinity (as CaCO3)
per g NH4-N oxidized. For denitrification 1 mole of hydroxide
alkalinity is produced per mole of NO3 reduced or one equiva-
lent OH per equivalent N. 50 mg alkalinity as CaCO3 per 14 mg
N reduced or 3.57 mg alkalinity as CaCO3 produced per mg
NO3-N reduced.
NH4++2O2+2HCO3- → NO3- + 2CO2 + 3H2O (3)
5CH3OH+6NO3- → 3N2+5CO2+7H2O+6OH- (4)
5CH3CHOH+12NO3- → 6N2+10CO2+9H2O+12OH- (5)
5CH3COOH+8NO3- → 4N2+10CO2+6H2O+8OH- (6)
To minimize the amount of external carbon source and
chemical flocculant uses and footprint for installation, an effi-
cient process for removal of phosphorus and nitrogen has to be
developed. IPNR process is the one solution for nitrate and
phosphorus treatment at the same time with high efficiency,
less sludge waste and less flocculant and carbon source uses
using less process site.
Materials and Methods
Experimental Setup
IPNR process is an up-flow single reactor and able to remove
phosphorus and nitrate nitrogen simultaneously. The reactor
was conducted by using FRP (Glass fiber reinforced plastic)
tank of 2.7 m internal diameter and 5.5 m height. Figure 1 is
the schemetic diagram of the IPNR process. IPNR reactor was
filled with media which can occur adsorption between media
and HFO, followed by PO4-P. By adding methanol as a carbon
source, denitrifying bacteria can grow in the pore of and
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
between the media and use NO3-N as an electron acceptor.
Finally, PO4-P and NO3-N in the secondary effluent from
existing wastewater treatment plant were removed, on the other
hand, the sludge waste including HFO-PO4-P and denitrifying
bacteria discharged as well as media was reused by air and
water washing system.
The pilot-scale IPNR process was installed in the A waste-
water treatment plant in Yongin, Korea and has been operating
for one and half years. The IPNR system treated 360 m3/day-
secondary effluent continuously. The secondary effluent from
SBR (Sequencing batch reactor) includes 1 mg/L-PO4-P and 5
mg/L-NO3-N approximately. In order to find the nitrogen re-
moval efficiency with high concentration of NO3-N, some po-
tassium nitrate (KNO3) was artificially added in the influent of
IPNR process. Methanol addition varied from zero to 88 mg/L
according to the influent flow and the concentration of NO3-N
and DO (Dissolved oxygen). Bed turnover rate was adjusted
7.75 and 6.4 day-1 in order to increase the nitrogen removal
efficiency as increasing the NO3-N concentration in the influ-
The pilot-scale IPNR process was monitored through chemi-
cal analytical techniques. Samples were taken regularly from
influent (secondary effluent of SBR) and effluent (treated water
through the IPNR process). pH and DO were analyzed on-site
using an AQUA LYTIC AL15. Total-phosphorus, phosphorus,
total-nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium were measured using
a HACH DR890. Suspended solid was measured according to
standard methods (APHA, AWWA and WPCF, 1995)
Results and Discu ssions
IPNR process performance of the phosphorus and nitrate ni-
trogen was evaluated. The concentration of PO4-P and NO3-N
were monitored for 160 days after system was stabilized in
order to obtain the results of simultaneous removal of phos-
phorus and nitrate nitrogen in this study.
Figure 1.
Schemetic diagram of the IPNR process.
Phosphorus Removal
2~7 mg/L FeCl3 was injected continuously according to the
influent flow and PO4-P concentration. Once FeCl3 was added
in the influent stream, FeCl3 transformed HFO such as am-
Fe(OH)(s), ferrigydrite (FepOr(OH)s·nH2O), goethite (α
-FeOOH), lepidocrocite (γ-FeOOH), he ma tit e (α-Fe2O3). The
HFO has positive charge and adsorbed with Si-media which is
negative charge. Then PO4-P in the influent reacted with HFO
and formed coagulant on the surface of the media in a few
seconds and discharged through the washing system. Figure 2
demonstrated the principal of removal of PO4-P in the IPNR
The removal of PO4-P was stable representing 90% removal
efficiency except 46 ~ 70 days due to media bed plugging with
high concentration of SS in the influent caused by unstable
operation of SBR process (data not shown). As shown in the
Figure 3, the concentration of PO4-P in the influent was vari-
ous from 0.1 ~ 1.6 mg/L and removed up to 0.01 mg/L.
Nitrate Nitrogen Remo val
In order to remove nitrate nitrogen, the autotrophic denitri-
fying bacteria have to be grown enough in the reactor requiring
inorganic carbon as food or energy source [7]. In addition, a
suitable electron acceptor must also be provided. In many cases
autotrophic mode of denitrification have been shown by facul-
tative organisms which means that they use dissolved oxygen
Figure 2.
Principal of PO4-P removal on the media in the IPNR process.
020 40 60 80100120140160
-P concentration (mg/L)
Figure 3.
Variation of PO4-P concentration in the IPNR process.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
when it is aerobic condition or other electron acceptor like
NO3-N or NO2-N in anaerobic condition [8]. In this study, me-
thanol was used as a carbon source in the anaerobic condi- tion.
The theoretical concentration of methanol for denitrifica- tion
representated on (7) [9].
2.9[NO3-N (mg/L)] + 0.9[DO (mg/L)] (mg/L) (7)
The effect of methanol on denitrification was investigated.
The methanol injection was gradually increased from zero to 88
mg/L in order to find the optimized condition for denitrification.
At the beginning of the period, the methanol was injected
automatically according to the influent flow and the concentration
of NO3-N and DO to grow denitrifying bacteria. DO was
controlled under 1 ~ 2 mg/L for efficient denitrification. When
denitrifying bacteria was stabilized methanol was increased
through the stages (~). The amount of methanol injection
is shown in Table 1. As the concentration of NO3-N increased
in the influent, the amount of methanol injection was increased
from 23.9 to 88.1 mg/L. Basically 100% injection of theoretical
methanol concentration was enough to remove nitrate nitrogen
in the low concentration of NO3-N. When the concentration of
NO3-N in the influent was 15~20 mg/L, however, the methanol
injection was increased to 130% for stable removal of NO3-N
(stage ~). When the concentration of NO3-N up to 30
mg/L, the efficiency was decreased dramatically due to lack of
carbon source (stage ~). We found that 130% methanol
injection of theoretical concentration was required for stable
denitrification in the IPNR process. This value could be cost
effective compared with conventional biological nitrogen
removal process because of less external carbon source uses.
One of the important factors is bed turnover rate which is re-
lated with HRT (Hydraulic retention time). At the beginning of
period, the bed turnover was 7.75 day-1 which made the deni-
trifying bacteria condition unstable. The denitrifying bacteria
require at least 30 min to reduce NO3-N or NO2-N to N2 gas.
For more stable denitrification reaction, the bed turnover de-
creased down to 6.4 day-1. Finally, we found that stable denitri-
fication in the IPNR reactor.
Phosphorus and nitrate nitrogen removal test of the pilot-
scale IPNR process suggested that approximately 90% of si-
multaneous removal for both PO4-P and NO3-N has been suc-
cessful using secondary effluent from sewage wastewater
treatment plant with 130% overdose of theoretical methanol
concentration and 6.4 bed turnover/day. In the optimal condi-
tion, 1.75 mg/L PO4-P removed to 0.41 mg/L and mostly 0.01
mg/L was measured in the effluent of IPNR process as maxi-
mum efficiency. Although 31.9 mg/L NO3-N was decreased to
Table 1.
The amount of m ethanol in the pilot -scale IPNR process.
The amount of methnoal Stage number
Methanol injection percentage based
on the theoretical concentration (%) 100 100 100 130 150 150
Theoretical concentration of
mothanol (mg/L)a 23.9 29.9 44.4 59.0 66.6 88.1
Concentration of NO3-N (mg/L) 7 10 15 15 15 20
Concentration of DO (mg/L) 4 1 1 1 1 1
020 40 60 80100120140160
Concentration of injected
carbon source (mg/L)
020 40 60 80100120140160
-N concentration (mg/L)
7.75 bed turnover/day6.4 bed turnover/day
Figure 4.
Variation of NO3-N concentration in the IPNR process.
1.2 mg/L, most of the data showed that 20~25 mg/L of NO3-N
removed to below than 1 mg/L which has 95~96 % removal
efficie ncy. It seems tha t more than 30 mg/L a s NO3-N could be
removed by adding more carbon source in this condition. It is
possible that phosphorus and nitrate nitrogen can be treated at
the same time and in the same reactor. Also, we found that
there is no competition between HFO and denitrifying bacteria
on the surface of media showing high efficiency of removal of
phosphorus and nitrate nitrogen simultaneously. It could make
cost effective sewage wastewater treatment plant for both
PO4-P and NO3-N by decreasing uses of coagulant and carbon
source as well as footprint for installation.
This project was named as “Field application of reactive fil-
teration system for total phosphorus/nitrogen removal from
effluents of sewage and/or wastewater treatment plants and
reservoirs” and funded by Korea Environmental Industry and
Technology Institute of Korean government as “Eco-Innovation
project, 2011”.
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