Enhanced post-denitrification without addition of an external carbon source in membrane bioreactors

This study investigates a post-denitrification process without the addition of an external carbon source combined with an enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) in a membrane bioreactor (MBR). Three trial plants, with two different process configurations, were operated on two different sites, and a variety of accompanying batch tests were conducted. It was shown that even without dosing of an external carbon source, denitrification rates (DNR) much above endogenous rates could be obtained in post-denitrification systems. Furthermore, the anaerobic reactor located a head of the process had a positive impact on the DNR. Given these surprising results, the project team decided to identify the carbon source used by the microorganisms in the postdenitrification process. Batch tests could demonstrate that lysis products do not play a major role as a C-source for postdenitrification. The following hypothesis was proposed to explain the observations: the glycogen, internally stored by the substrate accumulating bacteria, if anaerobic conditions are followed by aerobic conditions could act as carbon source for denitrification in post-denitrification system. First exploratory batch tests, where the glycogen evolution was monitored, corroborate this

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