ARAconsult

Innsbruck, Austria

ARAconsult

Innsbruck, Austria
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Wett B.,ARAconsult | Omari A.,AECOM Technology Corporation | Podmirseg S.M.,University of Innsbruck | Podmirseg S.M.,AlpS GmbH | And 10 more authors.
Water Science and Technology | Year: 2013

A three-pronged coordinated research effort was undertaken by cooperating utilities at three different experimental scales investigating bioaugmentation, enrichment and performance of anammox organisms in mainstream treatment. Two major technological components were applied: density-based sludge wasting by a selective cyclone to retain anammox granules and intermittent aeration to repress nitrite oxidizers. This paper evaluates process conditions and operation modes to direct more nitrogen to the resource-saving metabolic route of deammonification.


PubMed | Old Dominion University, DC Water and Sewer Authority, ARAconsult, Ghent University and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research | Year: 2015

The main challenge in implementing shortcut nitrogen removal processes for mainstream wastewater treatment is the out-selection of nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) to limit nitrate production. A model-based approach was utilized to simulate the impact of individual features of process control strategies to achieve NO(-)(2)-N shunt via NOB out-selection. Simulations were conducted using a two-step nitrogen removal model from the literature. Nitrogen shortcut removal processes from two case studies were modeled to illustrate the contribution of NOB out-selection mechanisms. The paper highlights a comparison between two control schemes; one was based on online measured ammonia and the other was based on a target ratio of 1 for ammonia vs. NOx (nitrate + nitrite) (AVN). Results indicated that the AVN controller possesses unique features to nitrify only that amount of nitrogen that can be denitrified, which promotes better management of incoming organics and bicarbonate for a more efficient NOB out-selection. Finally, the model was used in a scenario analysis, simulating hypothetical optimized performance of the pilot process. An estimated potential saving of 60% in carbon addition for nitrogen removal by implementing full-scale mainstream deammonification was predicted.


PubMed | University of California at Irvine, Korea University, California State University, Long Beach, DC Water and 4 more.
Type: | Journal: Water research | Year: 2016

Aeration is commonly identified as the largest contributor to process energy needs in the treatment of wastewater and therefore garners significant focus in reducing energy use. Fine-pore diffusers are the most common aeration system in municipal wastewater treatment. These diffusers are subject to fouling and scaling, resulting in loss in transfer efficiency as biofilms form and change material properties producing larger bubbles, hindering mass transfer and contributing to increased plant energy costs. This research establishes a direct correlation and apparent mechanistic link between biofilm DNA concentration and reduced aeration efficiency caused by biofilm fouling. Although the connection between biofilm growth and fouling has been implicit in discussions of diffuser fouling for many years, this research provides measured quantitative connection between the extent of biofouling and reduced diffuser efficiency. This was clearly established by studying systematically the deterioration of aeration diffusers efficiency during a 1.5 year period, concurrently with the microbiological study of the biofilm fouling in order to understand the major factors contributing to diffuser fouling. The six different diffuser technologies analyzed in this paper included four different materials which were ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM), polyurethane, silicone and ceramic. While all diffusers foul eventually, some novel materials exhibited fouling resistance. The material type played a major role in determining the biofilm characteristics (i.e., growth rate, composition, and microbial density) which directly affected the rate and intensity at what the diffusers were fouled, whereas diffuser geometry exerted little influence. Overall, a high correlation between the increase in biofilm DNA and the decrease in F was evident (CV<14.02.0%). By linking bacterial growth with aeration efficiency, the research was able to show quantitatively the causal connection between bacterial fouling and energy wastage during aeration.


Schaubroeck T.,Ghent University | De Clippeleir H.,Ghent University | De Clippeleir H.,Columbia University | Weissenbacher N.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | And 4 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2015

It is still not proven that treatment of sewage in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is (in every case) environmentally friendly. To address this matter, we have applied a state-of-the-art life cycle assessment (LCA) to an energy self-sufficient WWTP in Strass (Austria), its supply chain and the valorization of its 'products': produced electricity out of biogas from sludge digestion and the associated stabilized digestate, applied as agricultural fertilizer. Prominent aspects of our study are: a holistic environmental impact assessment, measurement of greenhouse gas emissions (including N2O), and accounting for infrastructure, replacement of conventional fertilizers and toxicity of metals present in the stabilized digestate. Additionally, the environmental sustainability improvement by implementing one-stage partial nitritation/anammox (e.g. DEMON®) and co-digestion was also assessed. DEMON on the digesters reject water leads to a considerable saving of natural resources compared to nitritiation/denitritation (about 33% of the life cycle resource input), this through the lowering of sludge consumption for N-removal, and thus increasing electricity production via a higher sludge excess. However, its N2O emission could be restrained through further optimization as it represents a large share (30-66%) of the plants' damaging effect on human health, this through climate change. The co-substrate addition to the digester resulted in no significant improvement of the digestion process but induced net electricity generation. If respective amounts of conventional fertilizers are replaced, the land application of the stabilized digestate is environmentally friendly through prevention of natural resource consumption and diversity loss, but possibly not regarding human health impact due the presence of toxic heavy metals, mainly Zn, in the digestate. The outcomes show that the complete life cycle results in a prevention of resource extraction from nature and a potential mitigation of diversity loss (though for some impact categories no quantification of associated diversity loss is possible) but it also leads to a damaging effect on human health, mainly via climate change and heavy metal toxicity. Since it is for now impossible to aggregate the impact to these different aspects in a sound manner, it is not yet possible to consider in this case the studied system as environmentally friendly. Generally, the field of LCA needs further development to present a better and single outcome. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Ghent University, DC Water and ARAconsult
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Applied microbiology and biotechnology | Year: 2016

The thermal hydrolysis process (THP) has been proven to be an excellent pretreatment step for an anaerobic digester (AD), increasing biogas yield and decreasing sludge disposal. The goal of this work was to optimize deammonification for efficient nitrogen removal despite the inhibition effects caused by the organics present in the THP-AD sludge filtrate (digestate). Two sequencing batch reactors were studied treating conventional digestate and THP-AD digestate, respectively. Improved process control based on higher dissolved oxygen set-point (1mgO2/L) and longer aeration times could achieve successful treatment of THP-AD digestate. This increased set-point could overcome the inhibition effect on aerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AerAOB), potentially caused by particulate and colloidal organics. Moreover, based on the mass balance, anoxic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AnAOB) contribution to the total nitrogen removal decreased from 971% for conventional to 725% for THP-AD digestate treatment, but remained stable by selective AnAOB retention using a vibrating screen. Overall, similar total nitrogen removal rates of 52028mgN/L/day at a loading rate of 600mgN/L/day were achieved in the THP-AD reactor compared to the conventional digestate treatment operating at low dissolved oxygen (DO) (0.380.10mgO2/L).


PubMed | ARAconsult, Bucknell University, DC Water, Hampton Roads Sanitation District and Ghent University
Type: | Journal: Bioresource technology | Year: 2016

This study focused on a physical separator in the form of a screen to out-select nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) for mainstream sewage treatment. This separation relied on the principle that the NOB prefer to grow in flocs, while anammox bacteria (AnAOB) reside in granules. Two types of screens (vacuum and vibrating) were tested for separating these fractions. The vibrating screen was preferred due to more moderate normal forces and additional tangential forces, better balancing retention efficiency of AnAOB granules (41% of the AnAOB activity) and washout of NOB (92% activity washout). This operation resulted in increased NOB out-selection (AerAOB/NOB ratio of 2.3) and a total nitrogen removal efficiency of 70% at influent COD/N ratio of 1.4. An effluent total nitrogen concentration <10mgN/L was achieved using this novel approach combining biological selection with physical separation, opening up the path towards energy positive sewage treatment.


PubMed | ARAconsult, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Ghent University and Columbia University
Type: | Journal: Water research | Year: 2015

It is still not proven that treatment of sewage in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is (in every case) environmentally friendly. To address this matter, we have applied a state-of-the-art life cycle assessment (LCA) to an energy self-sufficient WWTP in Strass (Austria), its supply chain and the valorization of its products: produced electricity out of biogas from sludge digestion and the associated stabilized digestate, applied as agricultural fertilizer. Prominent aspects of our study are: a holistic environmental impact assessment, measurement of greenhouse gas emissions (including N2O), and accounting for infrastructure, replacement of conventional fertilizers and toxicity of metals present in the stabilized digestate. Additionally, the environmental sustainability improvement by implementing one-stage partial nitritation/anammox (e.g. DEMON()) and co-digestion was also assessed. DEMON on the digesters reject water leads to a considerable saving of natural resources compared to nitritiation/denitritation (about 33% of the life cycle resource input), this through the lowering of sludge consumption for N-removal, and thus increasing electricity production via a higher sludge excess. However, its N2O emission could be restrained through further optimization as it represents a large share (30-66%) of the plants damaging effect on human health, this through climate change. The co-substrate addition to the digester resulted in no significant improvement of the digestion process but induced net electricity generation. If respective amounts of conventional fertilizers are replaced, the land application of the stabilized digestate is environmentally friendly through prevention of natural resource consumption and diversity loss, but possibly not regarding human health impact due the presence of toxic heavy metals, mainly Zn, in the digestate. The outcomes show that the complete life cycle results in a prevention of resource extraction from nature and a potential mitigation of diversity loss (though for some impact categories no quantification of associated diversity loss is possible) but it also leads to a damaging effect on human health, mainly via climate change and heavy metal toxicity. Since it is for now impossible to aggregate the impact to these different aspects in a sound manner, it is not yet possible to consider in this case the studied system as environmentally friendly. Generally, the field of LCA needs further development to present a better and single outcome.


Wett B.,ARAconsult | Jimenez J.A.,Brown and Caldwell | Takacs I.,EnviroSim Europe | Murthy S.,DCWASA | And 3 more authors.
Water Science and Technology | Year: 2011

Models for engineering design of nitrifying systems use one ammonia oxidizer biomass (AOB) state variable. A simple extension using two AOB populations allows a more accurate prediction of nitrification systems at switching process environments. These two AOB subpopulations are characterized by two different sets of kinetic parameters. Selection pressure and competition between the two functional AOB populations are determined by process conditions as demonstrated by three case studies: Case study I describes dynamics of two AOB populations showing different temperature sensitivities (modified Arrhenius term on growth and decay) when bioaugmented from the warm sidestream treatment environment to the cold mainstream and vice-versa. Case study II investigates competition between fast growing μ-strategists and k-strategists adjusted to low ammonia levels depending on the internal mixed liquor recycle rate (IMLR). Case study III shows that AOB transferred from the waste activated sludge of an SBR to the parallel continuous flow system with different decay kinetics can overgrow or coexist with the original population. © IWA Publishing 2011.


PubMed | Hampton Road Sanitation District, DC WATER, University of Washington, ARAconsult and University of Antwerp
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research | Year: 2016

While deammonification of high-strength wastewater in the sludge line of sewage treatment plants has become well established, the potential cost savings spur the development of this technology for mainstream applications. This study aimed at identifying the effect of aeration and organic carbon on the deammonification process. Two 10 L sequencing bath reactors with different aeration frequencies were operated at 25C. Real wastewater effluents from chemically enhanced primary treatment and high-rate activated sludge process were fed into the reactors with biodegradable chemical oxygen demand/nitrogen (bCOD/N) of 2.0 and 0.6, respectively. It was found that shorter aerobic solids retention time (SRT) and higher aeration frequency gave more advantages for aerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AerAOB) than nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) in the system. From the kinetics study, it is shown that the affinity for oxygen is higher for NOB than for AerAOB, and higher dissolved oxygen set-point could decrease the affinity of both AerAOB and NOB communities. After 514 days of operation, it was concluded that lower organic carbon levels enhanced the activity of anoxic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AnAOB) over denitrifiers. As a result, the contribution of AnAOB to nitrogen removal increased from 40 to 70%. Overall, a reasonably good total removal efficiency of 66% was reached under a low bCOD/N ratio of 2.0 after adaptation.


PubMed | DC Water, University of Queensland, ARAconsult, Dynamita and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research | Year: 2014

Current anaerobic digestion models cannot properly simulate processes that are operated under high solids concentrations or high temperatures. A modification to existing models has been implemented by adding important missing degradation pathways, to accommodate these systems without artificially recalibrating the model parameters. Specifically, we implemented the alternate acetate oxidizing mechanism that is more tolerant to ammonia than the standard aceticlastic pathway. Inhibition values were estimated and an empirical function has been used to apply ammonia inhibition. The model also relates metabolic activity to un-ionised species such as undissociated acetic acid as substrate (although not obligatory for all organisms) and unionised ammonia as inhibitor. The model relies on an equilibrium chemistry module (e.g. including the phosphate buffer), resulting in more accurate pH predictions, which is crucial for proper modeling of CO2 and NH3 stripping. Calibration results from three case-studies modeling thermal hydrolysis and subsequent digestion of sludge are presented.

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