Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) was researched from the performance of a modified University of Cape Town (UCT), anaerobic-anoxic/nitrifying-aerobic process. The work focussed on high P influent where milk was compared to carbohydrates as exogenous added carbon and typical settled sewage. The results confirmed that at equal COD load in the influent (minimum COD:P (250:5) ratio for EBPR), milk always provided sufficient soluble substrate than the carbohydrate mix, but also improved the EBPR performance. The laboratory scale treated 10L/day where 2 parallel treatment trains for milk and an equivalent carbohydrate mix as supplement to compare and study the P sequestration from hypothesised P ligands in milk and easily assimilable carbon (AOM) after fermentation for biological P uptake.
The aerobic bioreactors used submerged flat sheet membranes (AeMBR) to improve the effluent quality and reduce the suspended solid residues. The results suggested extra benefits from adding calcium chloride (CaCl2) (200 ml at 250 mM/day or 200 mg/L treated) to form P complexes both in the anaerobic and aerobic zones (100 ml CaCl2 250mM/zone/day). To complete P removal a calcium phosphate (CaPO4) further treatment stage (post membrane final effluent (F.E.)) was added for nucleation.
The combination of, A2O-N, exogenous carbon and calcium addition improved the performance of the EBPR, and enabled the laboratory units to achieve less than the 1 mg/L P required by the EU Directive. The process was tested at higher than normal P loads (maximum 100 mg/L) (domestic wastewater influent 15 mg/L). Experiments with influent P load ≤50mg/L, with 1% milk as AOM were compared to the carbohydrate mix and could remove soluble P to less than 1mg/L above 97% and less than 2 mg/L more than 99% of the in the time respectively. With an influent P load of 60mg/L (maximum 100 mg/L), the soluble P in the F.E. with milk was below 5 mg/L and below 8 mg/L with carbohydrates mix.
The results showed that most of the phosphorus was retained by the sludge during the anoxic-aerobic phases. The remaining phosphate in the F.E. was able to pass through AeMBR pore size (0.4 μm) and needed to be chelated by the nucleation process.
The results indicated this A2O-N modifications achieved stable nutrient removal and also offered the potential for more sustainable phosphorus recovery. The EBPR without AOM was 25% less efficient compared to milk and never achieved the E.U standard of 1mg/L in final effluent. The flat sheet membrane always achieved a NTU final effluent below 1 and the TOC always greater than 90% removal or less than the EU 125 standard regardless of the feeding COD/P ratio.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.