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Nitrogen Training Material

This training material was developed to bring low cost operational tools to operators to enable them to evaluate and optimize nitrogen removal at their treatment facilities.

The training was originally developed specifically to help operators who operate facilities that discharge to the Long Island Sound. Over recent years the Long Island Sound has experienced low dissolved oxygen levels (hypoxia), leading to more stringent total nitrogen permit limits for municipal wastewater treatment facilities that discharge to the Long Island Sound.

Nitrogen Training Modules

The training program consists of five modules which include the following subject areas:

  • Forms of Nitrogen,
  • Water Quality Impacts,
  • Nitrogen in Wastewater,
  • Nitrification Fundamentals,
  • Denitrification Fundamentals,
  • Operating Strategies for Nitrification,
  • Operating Strategies for Denitrification,
  • Plant Evaluations,
  • Troubleshooting,
  • Fixed Film Operating Strategies, and
  • Optimizing Fixed Film Plants

Select from the list below for self-training modules on nitrogen removal.

Module 1 (PDF): Forms of Nitrogen, Nitrogen Transformations, Nitrogen in Surface Waters, Water Quality Impacts of Nitrogen Discharges, Nitrogen in Wastewater

Module 2 (PDF): Nitrification Fundamentals, Denitrification Fundamentals, Operating Strategies for Nitrification, Operating Strategies for Denitrification

Module 3 (PDF): Case Studies, Overall Plant Evaluation Procedures, Operating and Troubleshooting Biological Nitrogen Removal Facilities

Module 4 (PDF): Fixed File Operational Strategies

Module 5 (PDF): Optimization of Fixed Film Performance

Training Worksheets

Oxygen calculation worksheets for diffused aeration (PDF) and mechanical surface aerators (PDF).

Nitrogen Training Exercises

Use the practice exercises below to better learn the following information.

  • Exercise 1 (PDF) - This exercise involves showing the forms of nitrogen during different treatment stages.
  • Exercise 2 (PDF) - This exercise involves calculating a minimum required Mean Cell Residence Time (MCRT) for nitrification in an activated sludge treatment plant.
  • Exercise 3 (PDF) - This exercise involves how to calculate an actual MCRT at an activated sludge treatment facility.
  • Exercise 4 (PDF) - This exercise involves calculating a nitrogen balance in a nitrifying and denitrifying activated sludge treatment plant.
  • Exercise 5 (PDF) - This exercise involves troubleshooting a BNR activated sludge treatment facility using given data.

Solutions (Exercises 1-5) (PDF)

Useful Resources for Nitrogen Removal

From the Water Environment Federation (leaves DEC website); 601 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1994, 1-800-666-0206

  • Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Operation in Wastewater Treatment Plants MOP 29 (2005)
  • Design of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants MOP 8 5th Edition (2009)
  • Nutrient Removal MOP 34 (2010)

From USEPA Office of Research and Development, Office of Water, Washington, DC 20460


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