Anammox treatment performances using polyethylene sponge as a biomass carrier

Nitrogen removal using a polyethylene (PE) sponge biomass carrier was evaluated in a fixed-bed reactor for nitrogen removal by the anammox process. The fixed-bed reactor was operated continuously for 240 days. Average T-N removal efficiencies of each period increased from 38 % to 67 %, 72 %, 74 % to 75 % with stepwise increases in volumetric T-N loading rates. A T-N removal rate of 2.8 kg N/m3/day was obtained after 240 days of operation. After 3 months, anammox biomass fully covered the surface of the PE sponge carrier and the color of the material changed from white to red. Following 5 months of operation, biomass proliferated on the surface of the material and a dark-red color was observed. These results shown that anammox process using PE sponge materials as biomass carriers in the fixed-bed reactor will be suitable for NH4-N removal from wastewater containing high NH4-N. However, it is necessary to investigate whether PE sponge material can operate under high organic carbon concentrations in anammox process, because these wastewaters always contain high concentration of organic matter.