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Novel adaptive activated sludge process leverages flow fluctuations for simultaneous nitrification and denitrification in rural sewage treatment.

Water Research 2024 March 29
The fluctuating characteristics of rural sewage flow pose a significant challenge for wastewater treatment plants, leading to poor effluent quality. This study establishes a novel adaptive activated sludge (AAS) process specifically designed to address this challenge. By dynamically adjusting to fluctuating water flow in situ, the AAS maintains system stability and promotes efficient pollutant removal. The core strategy of AAS leverages the inherent dissolved oxygen (DO) variations caused by flow fluctuations to establish an alternating anoxic-aerobic environment within the system. This alternating operation mode fosters the growth of aerobic denitrifiers, enabling the simultaneous nitrification and denitrification (SND) process. Over a 284-day operational period, the AAS achieved consistently high removal efficiencies, reaching 94 % for COD and 62.8 % for TN. Metagenomics sequencing revealed HN-AD bacteria as the dominant population, with the characteristic nap gene exhibiting a high relative abundance of 0.008 %, 0.010 %, 0.014 %, and 0.015 % in the anaerobic, anoxic, dynamic, and oxic zones, respectively. Overall, the AAS process demonstrates efficient pollutant removal and low-carbon treatment of rural sewage by transforming the disadvantage of flow fluctuation into an advantage for robust DO regulation. Thus, AAS offers a promising model for SND in rural sewage treatment.

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