Mixed sulfur-iron particles packed reactor for simultaneous advanced removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from secondary effluent.
A novel granular medium consisting (1.5-5 mm in diameter) of inert perlite particles as nuclei and an effective surface layer containing sulfur, CaCO3 and Mg(OH)2 was developed for advanced treatment of agro-industrial wastewater. The performance of the medium was examined with a laboratory-scale down-flow fixed-bed column reactor using piggery wastewater, which had been treated by an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor and a trickling filter. The removal efficiency of NOx- -N was more than 70% with a NOx- -N loading rate of less than approximately 0.3 kg Nm(-3) d(-1); the removal efficiency dropped due to the accumulation of nitrite when the loading rate exceeded that value. A significant drop of phosphate and Mg2+ concentrations occurred when the effluent pH exceeded 7.9. Ammonium was removed with an average removal efficiency of 12.4%. These results indicated that the crystalline reaction of PO4(3-), Mg2+ and NH4+ (MAP reaction) under alkaline conditions contributed to the removal of phosphate. This medium could be useful for the simultaneous reduction of nitrogenous and phosphorus compounds in biologically treated agro-industrial wastewater.