Ecological studies on high-rate biological filters with special reference to microbial biosynthesis and nitrification

  • Steven N. Young

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Pilot scale studies of high rate filtration were initiated to assess its potential as either a primary 'roughing' filter to alleviate the seasonal overloading of low rate filters on Hereford sewage treatment works - caused by wastes from cider production - or as a two stage high rate process to provide complete sewage treatment.
Four mineral and four plastic primary filter media and two plastic secondary filter media were studied. The hydraulic loading applied to the primary plastic media (11.2 m3 /m3 .d) was twice that applied to the mineral media. The plastic media removed an average around 66 percent and the mineral media around 73 percent of the BOD applied when the 90 percentile BOD concentration was 563 mg/1. At a hydraulic loading of 4 m3 /m3 .d the secondary filters removed most of the POD from partially settled primary filter effluents, with one secondary effluent satisfying a 25 mg/1 BOD and 30 mg/1 SS standard. No significant degree of nitrification was achieved.
Fungi dominated the biological film of the primary filters, with invertebrate grazers having little influence on film levels. Ponding did not arise, and modular media supported lower film levels than random-fill types. Secondary filter film levels were low, being dominated by bacteria.
The biological loading applied to the filters was related to sludge dewaterability, with the most readily conditionable sludges produced by filters supporting heavy film. Sludges produced by random-fill media could be dewatered as readily as those produced by low rate filters treating the same sewage.
Laboratory scale studies showed a relationship between log effluent BOD and nitrification achieved by biological filters. This relationship and the relationship between BOD load applied and removed observed in all filter media could he used to optimise operating conditions required in biological filters to achieve given effluent BOD and ammoniacal nitrogen standards.
Date of AwardOct 1982
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHerbert A. Hawkes (Supervisor)


  • two stage
  • performance
  • biosynthesis
  • nitrification

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