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Carbon Source Theoretical Stoichometry

The denitrification rate is a function of, among others, the temperature of the wastewater and the type of carbon source used for electron transfer. However, determining which carbon substrate is most suitable for wastewater treatment has been difficult (Tam, Wong, and Leung, 1992).

The following equation describes overall synthesis reaction using methanol as the carbon source and nitrate as the nitrogen source (U.S. EPA 1975):

Theoretically, 2.47 mg of methanol are required to reduce 1 mg of nitrate. Also, the equation predicts that 3.57 mg of alkalinity (as CaCO3)/mg nitrate-nitrogen are produced. However, studies show that this estimate may be aggressive and that 3.0 mg of alkalinity are more likely (U.S. EPA 1993; Wanielista and Eckenfelder 1978). The alkalinity production capability of denitrification enables a combined nitrification-denitrification system to maintain a more stable pH. Additionally, a system that uses influent BOD as the carbon source and has the anoxic zone located before the aerated portion of the process will require less energy for aeration. This energy savings is because a portion of the waste is consumed by denitrification (anoxic stabilization).

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