American Society of Civil Engineers

Aerated Rock Filters for Enhanced Ammonia and Fecal Coliform Removal from Facultative Pond Effluents

by D. Duncan Mara, (corresponding author), (School of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, England E-mail: and Michelle L. Johnson, (School of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, England)

Journal of Environmental Engineering, Vol. 132, No. 4, April 2006, pp. 574-577, (doi:

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Document type: Technical Note
Abstract: Rock filters used to treat effluents from waste stabilization ponds do not remove ammonia as they are anoxic. A pilot-scale aerated rock filter was investigated, in parallel with an unaerated control, over an 18-month period to determine whether aeration provided conditions within the rock filter for nitrification to occur. Facultative pond effluent containing ~10 mg NH4–N/L was applied to the filters at a hydraulic loading rate of 0.15 m³/m³ day during the first 8 months and at 0.3 m³/m³ day thereafter. The results show that the ammonia and nitrate concentrations in the effluent from the aerated filter were <3 and ~5 mg N/L, respectively, whereas the ammonia concentration in the effluent from the control filter was ~7 mg N/L. Fecal coliforms were reduced in the aerated filter to a geometric mean count of 65 per 100 mL; in contrast the effluent from the control filter contained 10³–104 fecal coliforms per 100 mL. Aerated rock filters are thus a useful land-saving alternative to aerobic maturation ponds.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Waste stabilization ponds
Abatement and removal