Nitrification-denitrification via nitrite accumulation for nitrogen removal from wastewaters

G. Ruiz, D. Jeison, O. Rubilar, G. Ciudad, R. Chamy

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193 Scopus citations


The biological nitrification-denitrification process is used extensively for removal of ammonia nitrogen from wastewaters. Saves in aeration, organic matter (for denitrification) and surplus sludge are achievable if nitrite accumulation is possible in the nitrification step. In this paper, operational parameters were studied for each process for maximum nitrite accumulation in the nitrification step and nitrite adaptation in the denitrification step. Nitrite accumulation during nitrification can be controlled by the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, presenting a maximum of 65% at around 0.7 mg DO/L. Denitrification can be adapted to nitrite and the process is stable if nitrite in the reactor is keep low. The performance of a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) and an up flow sludge blanket reactor (USB) were compared. Once the operational parameters were established, a CSTR for nitrification and an USB reactor for denitrification were operated in series for 25 days. The process was stable and a steady state was maintained for 20 days, and 93.5% of overall nitrogen removal was achieved in the nitrification-denitrification via the nitrite process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-335
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Nitrification-denitrification via nitrite
  • Nitrite accumulation
  • Nitrogen removal
  • Oxygen concentration
  • nitrite denitrification


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