Water research

Modeling nitrous oxide production by a denitrifying-enhanced biologically phosphorus removing (EBPR) activated sludge in the presence of different carbon sources and electron acceptors.

PMID 29859392


In this study, the IWA Activated Sludge Model No. 2d (ASM2d) was expanded to identify the most important mechanisms leading to the anoxic nitrous oxide (N2O) production in the combined nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) removal activated sludge systems. The new model adopted a three-stage denitrification concept and was evaluated against the measured data from one/two-phase batch experiments carried out with activated sludge withdrawn from a local, large-scale biological nutrient removal wastewater treatment plant. The experiments were focused on investigating the effects of different external carbon sources (acetate, ethanol) and electron acceptors (nitrite, nitrate) on the mechanisms of N2O production in enhanced biological P removal by polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) and external carbon-based denitrification by ordinary heterotrophic organisms (OHOs). The experimental results explicitly showed that N2O production was predominantly governed by the presence of nitrite in the reactor regardless of the examined carbon source and the ratio COD/N in the reactor. The model was capable of accurately predicting (with R2 > 0.9) the behavior of not only N2O-N, but also NO3-N, NO2-N, soluble COD, and PO4-P. The simulation results revealed that only OHOs were responsible for N2O production, whereas the present denitrifying PAOs reduced only nitrate to nitrite.