Nitrite accumulation during denitrification depends on the carbon quality and quantity in wastewater treatment with biofilters
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This study aims to understand the mechanisms of nitrite appearance during wastewater denitrification by biofilters, focusing on the role of the carbon source. Experiments were carried out at lab-scale (batch tests) and full-scale plant (Parisian plant, capacities of 240,000 m3 day−1). Results showed that the nature of the carbon source affects nitrite accumulation rates. This accumulation is low, 0.05 to 0.10 g N-NO2 − per g N-NO3 − eliminated, for alcohols such as methanol, ethanol, or glycerol. The utilization of glycerol leads to fungal development causing clogging of the biofilters. This fungal growth and consequent clogging exclude this carbon source, with little nitrite accumulation, as carbon source for denitrification. Whatever the carbon source, the C/N ratio in the biofilter plays a major role in the appearance of residual nitrite; an optimal C/N ratio from 3.0 to 3.2 allows a complete denitrification without any nitrite accumulation.
KeywordsBiofilters Denitrification Nitrite Wastewater treatment
The authors would like to thank Céline Briand (research technician at the Direction du Développement et de la Prospective) for her technical support.
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