Design of a Biological Reactor for Nitrogen Reduction in Wastewater


Metcalf & Eddy Team: Caitlyn Shea, Cloelle Sausville-Giddings, Meghan Taugher, Kari Caesar (not pictured)

2003-2004: In collaboration with Metcalf & Eddy, this student team designed a biological reactor to remove high concentrations of nitrogen from an internally produced waste stream within a New York City wastewater treatment plant. This reactor system can replace existing systems by providing a more efficient and cost effective method of removing nitrogen.

Taking into consideration the effluent’s pH value, chemical oxygen demand, temperature, sludge and hydraulic retention times, dissolved oxygen levels, and influent concentrations, the students specified the reactor configuration, size, retention time, and operating strategies. The reactor relies on partial nitrification followed by denitrification to convert ammonium nitrogen to dinitrogen gas. The team finalized their design by using computer modeling software to simulate the reactors’ performance under normal operating conditions as well as peak flows, extreme temperatures and weather patterns, and fluctuations in influent compositions.  The team also completed a cost analysis and an integration plan for incorporating their design into wastewater treatment facilities in New York City.