A biological phosphorus removal potential test for wastewaters

J. K. Park, L. M. Whang, J. C. Wang, G. Novotny

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10 Citations (Scopus)


A simple test was proposed to assess whether phosphorus in a wastewater can be removed using a biological phosphorus removal (BPR) process. The test includes the measurement of phosphorus release during 2 hours of the anaerobic stage in a batch reactor containing phosphorus-accumulating organisms (PAOs) and estimation of the effluent phosphorus concentration using biochemical relationships. The BPR potential test developed allowed for the successful evaluation of BPR feasibility for five wastewater samples. The BPR potential test was validated by comparing the test results with the effluent phosphorus concentrations measured in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR). An effluent phosphorus concentration of 1.9 mg P/L predicted for the BPR potential test performed was close to the effluent phosphorus concentration of 1.8 mg P/L obtained from an SBR on the same day. During the anaerobic stage, phosphorus release was significantly affected by the sludge concentration initially, but became insignificant after 2 hours. The initial sludge concentration affected the phosphorus release rate; thus, it is recommended that the BPR potential test be conducted at a target mixed liquor volatile suspended solids concentration. It is also recommended that the BPR potential test be conducted at the site where the PAO-containing sludge is available and the wastewater sample can be delivered at 4 °C in less than 24 hours. The PAOs in different sludges had almost identical phosphorus release after 2 hours; however, the characteristics of facultative bacteria in sludges affected the phosphorus release. If the wastewater is prefermented for at least 3 days before the BPR potential test, the amount of phosphorus released by various PAO-containing sludges is expected to be identical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Chemistry


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