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Water Science & Technology Vol 54 No 8 pp 27–35 © IWA Publishing 2006 doi:10.2166/wst.2006.762

Simultaneous removal of ammonium-nitrogen and sulphate from wastewaters with an anaerobic attached-growth bioreactor

Q.-l. Zhao, W. Li and S.-j. You

School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, 202 Haihe Road, Nangang District, Harbin, 150090, China (E-mail: qlzhao@hit.edu.cn)


ABSTRACT

Some industrial wastewaters may contain ammonium-nitrogen and/or sulphate, which need to be removed before their discharge into natural water bodies to eliminate their severe pollution. In this paper, simultaneous removal of ammonium-nitrogen and sulphate with an anaerobic attached-growth bioreactor of 3.8 L incubated with sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB) was investigated. Artificial wastewater containing sodium sulphate as electron acceptor, ammonium chlorine as electron donor and glucose as carbon source for bacteria growth was used as the feed for the bioreactor. The loading rates of ammonium-nitrogen, sulphate and COD were 2.08 gN/m3·d, 2.38 gS/m3·d, 104.17 gCOD/m3·d, respectively, with a N/S ratio of 1:1.14. The results demonstrated that removal rates of ammonium-nitrogen, sulphate and COD could reach 43.35%, 58.74% and 91.34%, respectively. Meanwhile, sulphur production was observed in effluent as well as molecular nitrogen in biogas, whose amounts increased with time substantially, suggesting the occurrence of simultaneous removal of ammonium-nitrogen and sulphate. This novel reaction provided the possibility to eliminate ammonium-nitrogen and sulphate simultaneously with accomplishment of COD removal from wastewater, making wastewater treatment more economical and sustainable.

Keywords: Ammonium-nitrogen; anaerobic attached-growth bioreactor; sulphate; sulphur


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