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Nitrogen concentration is generally determined as Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN), which measures the

sum of the free and saline ammonia plus the organic nitrogen concentrations. Nitrogen is not usually the
limiting nutrient for eutrophication but is important because it exerts an oxygen demand on the activated
sludge process, and consumes alkalinity when converted from ammonia to nitrate (nitrification).

Sewage phosphorus in most domestic is present in both the poly-phosphate and the ortho-phosphate
forms. It is therefore important, when measuring the total phosphorus concentration present, to select a
test that converts all the phosphate into one form, usually the orthophosphate. Phosphorus is the limiting
nutrient for eutrophication. As little as 0.1 mg/l phosphate in an impoundment can lead to algal growth.
The limit for sewage effluents in sensitive areas is 1 mg/l, and normal sewages have about 10 to 12 mg/l
of phosphate present. Phosphate removal by biological means can be built into the activated sludge
process but this requires specialised design. If phosphorus is limited, most small plants use metal salt
addition to remove phosphate (iron or aluminium)

2.4.2.3 Solids Concentration

The removal of suspended solids in the raw sewage by primary sedimentation gives a reasonably good
estimate of the sludge solids which will be requiring treatment in the sludge plant at the works. Typical
removals are of the order of about 250 mg/l (0.25 kg/m3). These solids are incorporated into the waste
sludge discharged from the process for extended aeration activated sludge plants.

2.4.2.4 Alkalinity

The oxidation of ammonia to nitrate also requires about 7mg/l of alkalinity per mg/l of nitrogen. If the total
alkalinity of a wastewater is not more than seven times the TKN, there will be a shortage of alkalinity for
nitrification, resulting in low pH effluent with residual ammonia. The two options available to counter this
are to promote denitrification, which recovers just over half the alkalinity lost per mg/l, or to add alkali
(lime or soda ash).

2.4.2.5 Typical Sewage

A typical domestic sewage or a wastewater with a high domestic component will have typical
characteristics, as shown below :
BOD (as O2 ) 250 to 350 mg/l
COD (as O2 ) 500 to 700 mg/l
Settleable solids 8 to 10 ml/l
Suspended solids 200 to 350 mg/l
TKN 60 to 85 mg/l
+
Ammonia (NH4 -N) 40 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (P) 10 to 13 mg/l

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