Model-based study of nitrite accumulation with OUR control in two continuous nitrifying activated sludge configurations

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Achievement of partial nitrification relies on the different characteristics of the microorganisms involved in the two steps of nitrification (AOB, ammonium oxidizing bacteria and NOB, nitrite oxidizing bacteria). Several configurations and conditions have been used to achieve partial nitrification taking into account their different responses in front of some environmental conditions like pH, temperature (T), dissolved oxygen (DO) and the inhibitory compounds free ammonia (FA) and free nitrous acid (FNA). This work is a theoretical study about the utilization of a control strategy based on controlling OUR by manipulating the influent flow-rate together with additional changes in T, pH or DO for achieving stable partial nitrification. Two different configurations were simulated. Configuration A consisted of three continuous stirred-tank reactors in series plus a settler, while configuration B consisted of a single reactor with the same total volume and a settler. The developed control system was shown as a good tool to achieve partial nitrification with both configurations. Nevertheless, configuration A showed better results and partial nitrification was obtained even under theoretically unfavourable conditions as T = 15°C, pH = 8.3 and DO = 3mgO2L-1. © IWA Publishing 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2685-2693
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Control
  • Modelling
  • OUR
  • Partial nitrification


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