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Nitrification-denitrification in waste stabilisation ponds: a mechanism for permanent nitrogen removal in maturation ponds

Lookup NU author(s): Fiona Read, Professor Thomas CurtisORCiD, Professor Russell DavenportORCiD


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A pilot-scale primary maturation pond was spiked with N-15-labelled ammonia ((NH4Cl)-N-15) and N-15-labelled nitrite ((NaNO2)-N-15), in order to improve current understanding of the dynamics of inorganic nitrogen transformations and removal in WSP systems. Stable isotope analysis of delta N-15 showed that nitrification could be considered as an intermediate step in WSP, which is masked by simultaneous denitrification, under conditions of low algal activity. Molecular microbiology analysis showed that denitrification can be considered a feasible mechanism for permanent nitrogen removal in WSP, which may be supported either by ammonia-oxidising bacteria (AOB) or by methanotrophs, in addition to nitrite-oxidising bacteria (NOB). However, the relative supremacy of the denitrification process over other nitrogen removal mechanisms (e. g., biological uptake) depends upon phytoplanktonic activity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Valero MAC, Read LF, Mara DD, Newton RJ, Curtis TP, Davenport RJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water Science and Technology

Year: 2010

Volume: 61

Issue: 5

Pages: 1137-1146

Date deposited: 05/08/2010

ISSN (print): 0273-1223

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: IWA Publishing


DOI: 10.2166/wst.2010.963


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Funder referenceFunder name
Yorkshire Water plc
Universidad Nacional de Colombia
University of Leeds
GR/S98382/01Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council