Decrease in Oxygen Concentration for the Fast Start-Up of Partial Nitritation/Anammox without Inoculum Addition

Weronika Borowska, Monika Żubrowska-Sudoł, Nina Doskocz

Initiating the partial nitritation and anammox (PN/A) process without inoculation poses a significant challenge. Thus, there is a notable amount of interest in devising a straightforward strategy for the start-up of PN/A. This study demonstrates the feasibility of achieving the rapid start-up of a one-stage PN/A process within a moving-bed sequencing batch biofilm reactor (MBSBBR) by reducing the oxygen concentrations: 3.0 mg O2/L (Stage I), 2.0 mg O2/L (Stage II), and 1.0 mg O2/L (Stage III). The anammox activity was observed 15 days after a gradual decrease in the oxygen concentration and confirmed using a specific anammox activity test (5.9 mg N/gVSS·h). During Stage III, the average total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) removal efficiency was 60.6%. The relative abundance of planctomycetes, a typical phylum representing anammox microorganisms, increased almost three times from Stage I (2.8%) to Stage III (7.1%). These results demonstrate the potential of a decrease in oxygen concentration for the fast start-up of the one-stage partial nitritation and anammox process without inoculation. The implementation of the studied DO strategy has practical implications for wastewater treatment plant operators, particularly in the start-up of the PN/A processes. Additionally, batch assays allow for the rapid assessment of treatment plant performance, providing real-time insights into its functionality and, thereby, optimizing wastewater treatment practices.

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