Nitrogen removal of high strength wastewater via nitritation/denitritation using a sequencing batch reactor

Water Sci Technol. 2004;50(10):27-33.


The sequencing batch reactor (SBR) process concept was applied to achieve efficient ammonium removal via nitrite under both laboratory and pilot-scale conditions. Both sets of experimental results show that without pH control or carbon addition the nitritation process consistently converted approximately 50% of the ammonium from biosolids dewatering liquids to nitrite with hydraulic retention times (HRT) as short as 10 h. The results from the pilot-scale study also indicate that the selective oxidation of ammonium to nitrite is a reliable process as the accumulation of nitrate was never an issue during a 330-day trial. The SBR process concept was extended to achieve complete nitrogen removal through nitritation and denitritation in the laboratory scale. The experimental results indicate that a total reduction of 96-98% of the ammonium nitrogen from biosolids dewatering liquids (influent concentration typically 1,200 g m(-3)) was achieved with a short HRT of 1.1 d and a removal rate of 1.05 kgNm(-3)d(-1). This process concept was tested at pilot scale where the nitritation process could be started up without temperature control in a short period of time. Nitrogen removal rates up to 1.2 kgNm(-3)d(-1) at an HRT of 0.88 d have been obtained. COD to nitrogen ratios required in the pilot plant were consistently in the range 1.6-1.9 kgCOD kg(-1)N removed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bioreactors*
  • Carbon / isolation & purification
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Nitrites / chemistry*
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Nitrogen / isolation & purification*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / isolation & purification
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / metabolism
  • Sewage / chemistry
  • Sewage / microbiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods*


  • Nitrites
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Sewage
  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen