Taking advantage of aerated-anoxic operation in a full-scale University of Cape Town process

Water Environ Res. 2006 Jun;78(6):637-42. doi: 10.2175/106143006x99786.


To evaluate the potential benefits or limitations of aeratedanoxic operation in high-rate biological nutrient removal processes, we conducted a full-scale experiment in a University of Cape Town (UCT)-type wastewater treatment plant by reducing oxygen supply and increasing flowrates within one treatment train so that aerated-anoxic conditions (i.e., zones that receive oxygen but maintain dissolved oxygen concentrations below 0.5 mg/L) could be implemented in a section of the aerated zone. With this retrofitted configuration, total nitrogen removal increased from 54 to 65%, but was limited by the organic carbon available for denitrification. Furthermore, the significant reduction in dissolved oxygen concentrations in the aerated zone did not negatively affect enhanced biological phosphorus removal, demonstrating that the implementation of an aerated-anoxic zone within a UCT-type reactor can contribute to a reduction in operational costs and a slight improvement in total nitrogen removal, without compromising the extent of phosphorus removal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Hypoxia*
  • Nitrates / chemistry
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Nitrogen / isolation & purification
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Phosphorus / isolation & purification
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Sewage / chemistry
  • Sewage / microbiology*
  • South Africa
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods*
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Nitrates
  • Sewage
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen