Nitrate removal with sulfur-limestone autotrophic denitrification processes

Joel M. Flere, Tian C. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Nitrate removal using sulfur and limestone autotrophic denitrification (SLAD) processes was evaluated with four laboratory-scale fixed-bed column reactors. The research objectives were (1) to determine the optimum design criteria of the fixed-bed SLAD columns; and (2) to evaluate the effects of biofouling on the SLAD column performance. A maximum denitrification rate of 384 g NO3--N/(m3 · day) was achieved at a loading rate between 600 and 700 g NO3--N/(m3 · day). The effluent nitrite concentration started to rise gradually once the loading rate was above 600 g NO3--N/(m3 · day). A loading rate between 175 and 225 g NO3--N/(m3 · day) achieved the maximum nitrate-N removal efficiency (∼95%). Biofouling was evaluated based on tracer studies, the measured biofilm thickness, and modeling. The porosities of the columns fluctuated with time, and the elongation of the filter media was observed. Biofouling caused short-circuiting and decreased nitrate removal efficiency. A SLAD column will require backwashing after 6 months of operation when the influent is synthetic ground water but will foul and require backwashing within 1-2 months when the influent is real ground water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-729
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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