One-year stable pilot-scale operation demonstrates high flexibility of mainstream anammox application

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Mainstream nitrogen removal via anammox is widely recognized as a promising wastewater treatment process. However, its application is challenging at large scale due to unstable suppression of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). In this study, a pilot-scale mainstream anammox process was implemented in an Integrated Fixed-film Activated Sludge (IFAS) configuration. Stable operation with robust NOB suppression was maintained for over one year. This was achieved through integration of three key control strategies: i) low dissolved oxygen (DO = 0.4 ± 0.2 mg O2/L), ii) regular free nitrous acid (FNA)-based sludge treatment, and iii) residual ammonium concentration control (NH4+ with a setpoint of ∼8 mg N/L). Activity tests and FISH demonstrated that NOB barely survived in sludge flocs and were inhibited in biofilms. Despite receiving organic-deficient wastewater from a pilot-scale High-Rate Activated Sludge (HRAS) system as the feed, the system maintained a stable effluent total nitrogen concentration mostly below 10 mg N/L, which was attributed to the successful retention of anammox bacteria. This study successfully demonstrated large-scale long-term mainstream anammox application and generated new practical knowledge for NOB control and anammox retention.




Zheng, M., Li, H., Duan, H., Liu, T., Wang, Z., Zhao, J., … Yuan, Z. (2023). One-year stable pilot-scale operation demonstrates high flexibility of mainstream anammox application. Water Research X, 19.

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