Enhanced Phosphorus Removal in Trickling Filters

by Harold J. Jebens, Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI,
William C. Boyle, Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 3, Pg. 547-560

Document Type: Journal Paper


Phosphorus removal from domestic wastewater was investigated using four synthetic media, pilot trickling filters constructed at the Madison Nine-Springs Sewage Treatment Plant. Phosphorus removal was not correlated with the parameters of the experimental design of: hydraulic load, depth, recirculation, or waste strength; however, greater phosphorus removals were measured than could be attributed to biological requirements for phosphorus. Analysis of filter slime composition and phosphorus release studies suggested this bonus-removal of phosphorus was attributed to chemical precipitates of calcium apatite, aluminum phosphate, and iron (III) phosphate trapped in the filter slime. This trickling filter study supports the enhances-removal mechanism for bonus-removal of phosphorus from hard water wastewaters reported for the activated sludge process.

Subject Headings: Phosphorus | Filters | Wastewater treatment plants | Hydraulic design | Hydraulic loads | Phosphate | Municipal wastewater | Water reclamation

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