Nutrient Removal Challenge
Efficient, Cost-Effective Nutrient Removal from Wastewater—also referred to as the Nutrient Removal Challenge—was launched in 2007 to further develop the science of nutrient removal and assess technology performance to address increasingly stringent nutrient limits. The Nutrient Removal Challenge prompted the investigation of a wide range of issues, such as nutrient characterization and bioavailability in aquatic environments; the selection of sustainable, cost-effective processes to meet nutrient limits in water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs); the reliability of technologies; and environmental impacts resulting from nutrient reduction.
The following resources were developed as part of the Nutrients Removal Challenge.
Nutrient Removal Challenge Synthesis Report
Nutrient Removal Challenge Compendium
The goal of this compendium is to assess the state of knowledge regarding specific nutrient topics, the associated knowledge gaps, and the research needed to address these gaps.
- Carbon Augmentation for Biological Nitrogen Removal
- Fermenters for Biological Phosphorus Removal Carbon Augmentation
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Biological Nutrient Removal
- Measuring Low Phosphorus Concentrations
- Nutrient Management Terminology Reference Guide
- Operations and Control
- Phosphorus Analysis in Wastewater: Best Practices
- Soluble Organic Nitrogen in Biological Nitrogen Removal
- Tertiary Denitrification Processes for Low Nitrogen and Phosphorus
- Tertiary Phosphorus Removal
- Treatment for Nitrogen and Phosphorus
- Water Quality and Regulations: Frequently Asked Questions
Aerobic Granular Sludge for Biological Nutrient Removal
This white paper provides a comprehensive review of fundamental aspects of selector mechanisms for granular versus flocculent sludge growth, types of aerobic granular sludge and their microbial composition, and experience with aerobic granular sludge biological nutrient removal processes performing simultaneous nitrification, denitrification, and enhanced biological phosphorus removal (NUTR5R14h/1533, 2017).
Assessment of Nitrification Inhibition
This research sought to prove that specific gene expression measurements could be used as predictive and quantitative indicators of nitrification inhibition kinetics (NUTR5R14a/4827a, 2019).
Balancing Between Nutrient Removal and Sustainability
This report provides a bench-top analysis of determining if a point of diminishing return is reached where the sustainability impacts of achieving increased levels of nutrient removal outweigh the benefits of water quality (NUTR1R06n/1515, 2011).
Bioavailability and Characteristics of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen
This project investigated the bioavailability and characteristics of various phosphorus (P) fractions, particularly dissolved organic P, from effluents in advanced tertiary treatment processes targeted for extremely low effluent total P concentrations (NUTR1R06o/1516, 2014).
Bioavailable P in Effluent from Advanced Treatment
This project investigated current analytical methods, speciation of phosphorus (P) in different wastewater treatment processes, and the influence and effect of various molecular forms of P on algae growth (NUTR1R06m/1514, 2015).
BNR Process Monitoring and Control for N Credit Exchange in CT
This report summarizes the use of online analyzers by wastewater treatment plants in Connecticut, and considerations for the use of online analyzers for automated process control (NUTR1R06y/1526, 2015).
Evaluating Impacts of Cold and Wet Weather Events on BNR in WRRFs
This research evaluated strategies employed at biological nutrient removal facilities in response to adverse weather events (cold, wet, and cold and wet) (NUTR1R06s/1520, 2015).
Evaluation of Performance & GHG Emissions for WRRFs Achieving Low P
This project evaluated performance data from 11 WRRFs across the United States that were conducting phosphorus (P) removal practices, with the goal of maximizing what can be learned from existing facilities to help utilities operate more sustainably while achieving very low effluent total P concentrations (NUTR1R06v/1523, 2015).
Impact of Advanced Oxidation Processes on Soluble Organic Nutrients
This project investigated the impact of advanced oxidation process treatments on the speciation and composition of soluble nutrients, and consequently the biodegradability of soluble organic nitrogen in wastewater effluents (NUTR5R14e/1530, 2015).
Impact of EBPR on Dewatering
This project evaluated the impact of chemical conditioning to improve or recover the dewaterability of digested solids, both enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) and non-EBPR solids, in terms of cake concentration and interstitial water (NUTR5R14d/4827d, 2019).
MBR Processes for Achieving Low Effluent Nutrient Concentrations
This project evaluated membrane bioreactor process designs in municipal WRRFs, technology performance statistics, and operating issues for achieving low effluent concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus (NUTR1R06u/1522, 2015).
Mineralization Kinetics of Soluble P and Soluble Organic N
This project researched the dissolved phosphorus uptake kinetics characterization for five WRRFs in the Spokane, Washington, region (NUTR1R06p/1517, 2015).
Nutrient Management: Volume I, II, & III
Volume 1 provides a better understanding of the challenges that utilities and regulators face setting and meeting low nutrient effluent limits, and expands the understanding of the practical capabilities of nutrient treatment technologies (NUTR1R06i/1511, 2010).
Volume II features a comprehensive study of nutrient removal plants designed and operated for three or more years to meet very low effluent total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations in order to inform decision-makers about proper choices for both technologies and rationale bases for statistical permit writing (NUTR1R06k/1512, 2011).
Volume III discusses nutrient discharge permitting and the variety of potential approaches to establishing effluent limits for nitrogen and phosphorus (NUTR1R06z/1527, 2016).
Nutrient Speciation and Refractory Compounds in Water Quality Models
This research communicates the need to apply the most contemporary understanding of the changes in effluent nutrient speciation and bioavailability that occur in advanced wastewater treatment that can be included in water quality modeling (NUTR1R06aa/1506, 2016).
Protocol to Evaluate External Carbon Sources for Denitrification
This report provides comprehensive information to guide WRRFs in conducting systematic assessments of the efficiency, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of external sources of supplemental carbon to support and enhance biological denitrification processes. (NUTR1R06b/1507, 2010)
Phosphorus Fractionation and Removal in Wastewater Treatment
This project investigated a number of wastewater treatment configurations to determine the various phosphorus (P) fractions and their fate and susceptibility to a range of different P removal processes in order to gain better insights into the removal efficiency and mechanism of different P fractions through various treatment technologies (NUTR1R06l/1513, 2014).
Solids Role in Tertiary Chemical Phosphorus Removal by Alum
This project examined the capacity and kinetics of phosphorus removal from wastewater by chemical solids, and several factors that affect the reactions (NUTR1R06t/1521, 2014).
Spokane Regional Wastewater Phosphorus Bioavailability
This study used algal bioassays to determine the bioavailable phosphorus of effluent treated by pilot projects at the main wastewater treatment plant discharges to the Spokane River (NUTR4C09/1528, 2014).
Surface Complexation Modeling and Aluminum Mediated Phosphorus
This research tested a conceptual surface complexation modeling framework that had originally been developed for ferric mediated removal (NUTR1R06r/1519, 2014).
Sustainability Evaluation of Nutrient Removal Technologies
This research used a life cycle assessment approach to evaluate and compare the environmental impacts associated with different wastewater treatment technologies that have been designed for various degrees of removal of nutrients and contaminants of emerging concern (NUTR5R14f/1531, 2016).
Technologies for Sidestream Nitrogen Removal
This report reviews technologies for the treatment of nutrient-rich industrial wastewaters and recycle streams ("sidestream") generated by the dewatering of digested municipal sludges, animal manures, and source-separated wastes (NUTR1R06w/1524, 2015).
Trinity River Authority of Texas EBPR Demonstration Study
This project investigated alternative methods of converting existing systems to enhanced biological phosphorus removal processes at Trinity River Authority's Ten Mile Creek Regional Wastewater System wastewater treatment plant (NUTR5R14c/4827c, 2019).
Uncertainty Evaluations in Model-Based Design for Nutrient Removal
This report provides a summary of the state of the art of uncertainty evaluation, identifies knowledge gaps, and highlights the opportunities that explicit uncertainty evaluation provides to trade-off costs and probability of non-compliance associated with designing high-level nutrient removal systems (NUTR1R06q/1518, 2013).
Uptake by Algae of Dissolved Organic N from BNR Effluents
This project developed a method that demonstrates that recalcitrant or very slowly reactive forms of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) can be separated from the bioavailable effluent DON with a XAD-8 resin cartridge based on the different hydrophobicity of these two fractions of DON (NUTR1R06e/1509, 2013).
Use of Sorption Technologies for Nutrient Recovery from Wastewaters
This project reviewed current literature for the use of adsorbents for phosphorus and nitrogen removal using both conventional and innovative sorbents for nutrient recovery (NUTR1R06x/1525, 2015).
Variability of Low Phosphorus Analytical Measurements
This research provides information regarding the capability of wastewater treatment plants and commercial laboratories to measure low levels of P (20 µg/L) accurately and reliably (NUTR1R06f/1510, 2009).
Shortcut Nitrogen Removal - Nitrite Shunt and Deammonification (Special Publication)
This report provides utility owners, managers, engineers, operators, and researchers with a solid understanding of shortcut nitrogen removal and the most current research and cutting-edge industry practices on how to implement these emerging resource-saving technologies in a sustainable manner (LIFT5C14/1485, 2015).
Establishing a Research Agenda for Assessing the Bioavailability of Wastewater Treatment Plant-Derived Effluent Organic Nitrogen in Treatment Systems and Receiving Waters
This report summarizes the outcomes and recommendations from a two-day workshop on wastewater treatment plant-derived effluent organic nitrogen that occurred in Baltimore, Maryland on September 26 and 27, 2007.
WEF/WERF Cooperative Study of BNR Plants Approaching the Limit of Technology: I. What Can We Learn About the Technologies?
Proceedings from the 2009 Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference.
WEF/WERF Cooperative Study of BNR Plants Approaching the Limit of Technology: II. Statistical Evaluation of Process Reliability
Proceedings from the 2009 Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference.
WEF/WERF Study Quantifying Nutrient Removal Technology Performance
This research effort focused on maximizing what can be learned from existing technologies to provide a database that will inform key decision-makers about proper choices for both technologies and rationale for statistical permit writing.