Nitrifying moving bed biofilm reactor: Performance at low temperatures and response to cold-shock.


Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, 161 Louis Pasteur, K1N 6N5, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]


In contrast with suspended growth systems, attached growth technologies such as the moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR) have recently demonstrated significant nitrification rates at temperatures as low as 1 °C. The purpose of this study was to investigate the performance of the nitrifying MBBR system at elevated municipal concentrations with exposures to low temperatures and cold-shock conditions down to 1 °C using an enhanced temperature-controlled room. A removal rate of 98.44 ± 4.69 gN·m-3·d-1 was identified as the intrinsic rate of nitrifying MBBR systems at 1 °C and was proposed as the conservative rate for low temperature design. A temperature threshold at which attached growth nitrification displayed a significant decrease in kinetics was identified between 2 °C and 4 °C. Arrhenius correction coefficients of 1.086 and 1.09 previously applied for low temperature nitrifying MBBR systems resulted in conservative modeled removal rates on average 21% lower than the measured rates. Thus, an Arrhenius correction coefficient of 1.049 is proposed between the temperatures of 10 °C and 4 °C and another correction coefficient of 1.149 to model rates at 1 °C. For the transition from 4 °C to 1 °C, the adjustment of a previously reported Theta model is proposed in this study to account for exposure time at low temperatures; with the modified model showing strong correlation with measured rates (R2 = 0.88). Finally, a comparison of nitrification kinetics between MBBR systems acclimatized to 1 °C and systems that are cold-shocked to 1 °C demonstrated that shocked removal rates are 21% lower.


Cold-shock,Low temperature,Moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR),Nitrification,Non-combined sewers,