Impact of the Anoxic Volume Ratio on the Dynamics of Biological Nitrogen Removal Under Extended Aeration Conditions

Insel G., COKGOR E., TAS D., Sözen S., ORHON D.

WATER AIR AND SOIL POLLUTION, vol.226, no.11, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 226 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11270-015-2634-9
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The study provided a critical appraisal of the extended aeration process as a single-sludge system for nitrogen removal, emphasizing its inherent deficiencies. For this purpose, the system was designed first using the prescribed procedure in the German practice, ATV A-131. The design used the basic data reported in different studies related to conventional characterization and chemical oxygen demand (COD) fractionation defining the biodegradation characteristics of domestic wastewater. A critical appraisal of the design was made with emphasis on the fate of biodegradable COD and oxidized nitrogen in the anoxic phase by process modeling and evaluation. The results obtained were evaluated using basic stoichiometry and mass balance for major nitrogen fractions. The A-131 design based on a total sludge age of 20 days defined a system with a hydraulic residence time of 1.2 days where half of the volume was operated under anoxic conditions; the effluent nitrate concentration was reduced to 8.3 mg N/L with an internal recycle (nitrate) ratio of 4.9. Model evaluation of the prescribed design indicated that oxidized nitrogen was totally consumed within the first 25-30% portion of the anoxic volume. The remaining volume was forced to operate under anaerobic conditions, where no appreciable endogenous decay would occur. ATVA-131 procedure, relying on empirical coefficients and expressions, was neither consistent with process stoichiometry nor justifiable by modeling. Evaluations based on modeling and process stoichiometry revealed significant inherent weaknesses of extended aeration for providing a sustainable basis for nitrogen removal.