To reduce the suspended solids load to a trickling filter installation, raw swine effluent was pre-treated with ferric chloride and a cationically charged polyacrylamide coagulant resulting in unexpected struvite accumulation downstream of this post-separation process. Using this pre-treated swine manure, struvite precipitation studies were carried out as a function of pH at laboratory and pilot batch and continuously operated scales. An optimal reaction time of 30 min was established for struvite precipitation in the pre-treated swine wastewater at pH 8.5, minimizing the co-precipitation of interfering minerals. Ferric chloride addition resulted in magnesium solubilization, such that no external additional source of magnesium was required for struvite formation. Aeration alone did not result in significant pH increases, so base addition was required for pH adjustment. X-ray diffraction revealed that the only crystalline phase produced was struvite. Removal of phosphate and ammonium attained 98% and 17% respectively in laboratory scale experiments. At the pilot-scale, removal attained 99% and 15% of phosphate and ammonium in both batch and continuously HRT = 1h) operated reactors.
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