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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 2, p. 153-163
    Received: June 10, 1974

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Biological Denitrification and Its' Application in Treatment of High-Nitrate Waste Water1

  1. C. W. Francis and
  2. M. W. Callahan2



One method of removing nitrate nitrogen from waste water effluents appears to be biological denitrification. Considerable research regarding denitrification of municipal and agricultural waste water containing relatively low concentrations of nitrate (<50 ppm NO3-N) has been conducted. However, very little research has been carried out on the feasibility of applying the process to waste water effluents which contain in excess of 1,000 ppm NO3-N. Waste water effluents containing this magnitude of nitrates are generated in fertilizer and explosive manufacturing operations. Large quantities of nitrates are also expected to be produced at future nuclear fuel processing and uranium oxide fuel fabrication plants. This review comprehensively evaluates the various requirements for biological denitrification in respect to NO3-N concentrations as well as quantity and type of carbon substrate and complementary cations. It also assesses which engineering design, e.g., modified activated sludge units, packed-bed reactors, or anaerobic columns, may be most applicable in biological denitrification of waste streams containing concentrations > 1,000 ppm NO3-N.

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