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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigation of electrical conductivity as a control parameter for enhanced biological phosphorus removal in a pilot scale sequencing batch reactor Wylie, Andrew Colin


The relationship between phosphorus (P) concentration and process control parameters was investigated in a pilot scale enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) sequencing batch reactor (SBR). Datasets were examined to determine whether process control data could be used to detect a (P) removal failure, and P and nitrogen sensors were installed to improve the resolution of their respective measurements of these types of molecules. Track studies were performed to determine whether the electrical conductivity (EC):P relationship that had previously been demonstrated in the lab holds in larger SBR systems: in this relationship EC increases as P is released by polyphosphate accumulating organisms, and decreases as inorganic P is taken up, possibly due to the corresponding transport of the cations magnesium and potassium. The relationship was confirmed, showing that EC could be used as a real-time control parameter to optimize the length of anaerobic and aerobic phases of the SBR in order to maximize energy savings and to decrease the possibility of eutrophication caused by EBPR failure.

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