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Enhanced biological phosphorus removal for high-strength wastewater with a low rbCOD:P ratio

Broughton, Alistair, Pratt, Steven, Shilton, Andy
Bioresource technology 2008 v.99 no.5 pp. 1236-1241
air, chemical oxygen demand, dairies, phosphates, phosphorus, propionates, wastewater, New Zealand
In order to assess the feasibility of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) for dairy processing wastewater, which in New Zealand have rbCOD:P ratios that can be as low as 13:1, a sequencing batch reactor treating a synthetic wastewater with a CODVFA of 800mg/l (representing a dissolved air flotation (DAF) treated, pre-fermented dairy wastewater with a raw COD of 3000mg/l) was operated at COD:P ratios of 25:1, 15:1 and 10:1. Full (>99%) phosphate removal was achieved for COD:P loadings of 25:1 and 15:1. The trial using 10:1 COD:P loading showed less consistency but still achieved 82% phosphate removal. Based on further analysis of the final trial this study proposes that the minimum COD:P loading for complete phosphate removal is 13:1 indicating that EBPR could indeed be feasible for effective treatment of dairy processing wastewaters. With regard to the type of COD consumed, propionate was found to be favoured over acetate as a substrate. Further research into increasing the propionate content of pre-fermented dairy wastewaters is suggested.