Water environment research : a research publication of the Water Environment Federation

Adopting primary plastic trickling filters as a solution for enhanced nitrification.

PMID 25630130


The wastewater industry is under pressure to optimize performance of sewage treatment works (STW), while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. Using a process configuration selection matrix, this paper explores the practicability of placing a hypothetical cross flow structured plastic media (CFSP) trickling filter (TF) immediately ahead of an existing conventional trickling filter process (CTFP), without intermediate clarification. The viability of this configuration is subsequently demonstrated using an empirical multispecies TF model. This predicts the enhanced nitrification performance of the CTFP by simulating prior removals of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). The model predictions propose that prior 50-80% BOD removals can allow for further reductions in effluent ammoniacal nitrogen (NH4-N) concentrations of 40-70%, respectively. This illustrates that adopting low energy TF technologies can eliminate the requirement for more energy intensive alternatives, such as submerged aerated filters (SAF). Moreover, this configuration maximizes the potential of existing assets, while simultaneously improving nitrification robustness when compared with tertiary nitrification processes.