An Alaska mining camp's wastewater treatment system experienced regular noncompliance issues with respect to Total Nitrogen violations. A national water services management company requested IFM's assistance in bringing this wastewater treatment system into compliance.
In order to lower Total Nitrogen levels, a wastewater treatment system requires nitrification, followed by denitrification. Denitrification is the process under low dissolved oxygen concentrations where facultative bacteria, in the presence of Nitrates (typically formed by nitrifying bacteria during the nitrifying process) and a food source (soluble BOD) utilize these nitrates as the electron acceptor in place of dissolved oxygen. When this occurs, bacteria utilize the chemically bound oxygen in the nitrate molecule to consume BOD. Nitrogen gas is released into the atmosphere, reducing the Total Nitrogen in the wastewater.
To facilitate the denitrification process, IFM recommended that the mining camp incorporate IFM's Microbial Carbon Source into its wastewater treatment system. Microbial Carbon Source is a high strength, readily degradable carbon source for bacterial growth, containing macro- and micronutrients. It contains ammonium-nitrogen, ortho-phosphate and trace minerals.
The Microbial Carbon Source serves as a soluble food source, enabling the facultative bacteria to accomplish denitrification in this situation.
The wastewater treatment system has been brought back into compliance with operating procedures modified to include a regular dosage of Microbial Carbon Source daily.