Nitrification performance of high rate nitrifying trickling filters at low ammonia concentrations: does the aspect ratio matter?

  • Lei MaiEmail author
  • Yu Lian
  • Ben van den Akker
  • Howard J. FallowfieldEmail author
Research Article


Nitrifying trickling filters (NTFs) are often introduced to pre-treat waters before chlorination process, to reduce the ammonia-driven chlorine consumption in wastewater treatment. As a passive aerated system, the only power needed is to transport the water to the top of the filter for distribution. Thus, understanding the role of filter aspect ratio on ammonia oxidation might save energy cost. In the present study, a pilot-scale comparison NTF system was conducted on two filters with different aspect ratios (height/diameter) and the same specific surface area. The nitrification efficiencies of these two filters under relatively low influent ammonia-nitrogen concentrations (1.0–4.0 mg NH4-N L−1) were investigated. Results obtained from the present study indicated that the constructional aspect ratio of NTF showed no significant effect on nitrification performance of NTFs. Additionally, the operational parameters showed similar effects on nitrification in NTFs with different aspect ratios. Our findings could provide important information for the construction design of future NTFs.


Ammonia Aspect ratio Biomass Nitrification Nitrifying trickling filters (NTFs) Wastewater treatment 


Funding information

This work was funded by Flinders University and Hunan University, Changsha, PR China. Lei Mai was in receipt of a scholarship provided by the China Scholarship Council.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5256_MOESM1_ESM.docx (144 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 144 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health, School of EnvironmentFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  2. 2.School of EnvironmentalJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.School of Environmental Science and TechnologyHunan UniversityChangshaChina
  4. 4.Australian Water Quality CentreAdelaideAustralia

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