Enhanced pond systems (EPS) consist of a series of ponds that have been designed to work in synergy to provide both cost-effective enhanced wastewater treatment and resource recovery, in the form of algal biomass, for beneficial reuse. Due to the limited number of full-scale EPS systems worldwide, our understanding of factors governing both enhanced wastewater treatment and resource recovery is limited. This paper investigates the seasonal performance of a full-scale municipal wastewater EPS with respect to nutrient removal from the liquid fraction, microalgal biomass production and subsequent removal through the system. In the high rate algal pond both microalgal productivity (determined as organic matter and chlorophyll a biomass) and NH4-N removal varied seasonally, with significantly higher biomass and removal rates in summer than in spring (p < 0.05) or winter (p < 0.01). Microalgal biomass was not successfully harvested in the algal harvester pond (AHP), most likely due to poor flocc formation coupled with relatively short hydraulic residence time (HRT). High percentage removal rates, from sedimentation and zooplankton grazing, were achieved in the maturation pond (MP) series, particularly in winter and spring. However, in summer decreased efficiency of biomass removal and the growth of new microalgal species suggests that summer-time HRT in the MPs could be shortened. Further modifications to the operation of the AHP, seasonal changes in the HRT of the MPs and potential harvesting of zooplankton grazers are all potential strategies for improving resource recovery and producing a higher quality final discharge effluent.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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