Owasa Nutrification Process

The BOD/phosphorus ratio in influent wastewater is an important parameter for an EBPR process to achieve a low effluent phosphorus concentration. Typically, municipal wastewater contains a sufficient BOD/phosphorus ratio for biological phosphorus removal. However, in cases where excessive infiltration by rainwater into sewer lines or substrate consumption in pretreatment processes exist, the influent BOD concentration for biological phosphorus removal can be insufficient. Therefore, separate unit processes for side-stream production of BOD, mainly VFAs, supplement BOD requirements. Different methods for producing VFAs have been reported (Rabinowitz et al. 1987).

The OWASA process (see Part c in Figure 7.38.4) uses anaerobic fermentation of primary sludge to produce VFAs. This process mixes the VFA-enriched supernatant stream with the RAS in an anaerobic zone. The trickling-filter-treated influent wastewater flows directly into the oxic zone together with anaerobically conditioned RAS. Since the required BOD is supplemented by fermentation, a sufficient BOD/phosphorus ratio is maintained. Phosphorus removal performance is reliable and consistent with an effluent phosphorus concentration of 0.4 mg/l or less. Wastewater treatment facilities can also use this process for simultaneous biological phosphorus and nitrogen removal by increasing detention time in the oxic zone. Currently, one U.S. plant is in operation, located in Carrboro, North Carolina.

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