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What is denitrification in wastewater treatment?

Denitrification converts a harmful contaminant into a harmless gas which can be safely discharged into the environment. It is the process in which nitrogen is removed from the wastewater.

An over concentration of nitrogen (and carbon) can cause significant environmental issues such as an ecological imbalance, an increased instance of toxic algae overgrowth in waterways, depleting oxygen levels wiping out marine life, creating problems with bad odours, and polluting drinking water supplies. Too much nitrogen in drinking water can pose a health risk for people and animals, particularly babies, pregnant women, and at-risk adults.

In other countries, a major contributor to an oversupply of nitrogen is pollution due to excessive fertilisation, waste from food processing, and sewerage. While in Australia elevated nitrate levels are often due to naturally occurring subsurface plant decay. However it is still essential to ensure your home wastewater treatment plant is not negatively affecting the ground and surface water around your home.

Denitrification - the loss or removal of nitrogen or nitrogen compounds. Reduction of nitrates or nitrites commonly by bacteria (as in soil) that usually results in the escape of nitrogen into the air. Source : Mirriam-Webster Dictionary
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Denitrification treats the wastewater to reduce the nitrate-nitrogen content to acceptable levels.

Microbial activity breaks apart nitrogen containing elements consuming nitrate to create energy, during which denitrification occurs and nitrogen levels reduced.

One of the main goals of an effective wastewater treatment system is to remove substances like organic compounds, ammonia, nitrogen and nitrogen compounds, and phosphorus compounds. Denitrification helps facilitate this process.

The process of denitrification varies in different wastewater systems, speak to your wastewater specialist to ensure your treatment system is protecting the environment around your home from nitrogen contaminants.