Student: Rebecca Mattson, Graduate Student in Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa
Faculty Advisor: Craig Just
Nitrogen Transformations in a Small Town Iowa Wastewater Treatment Bioreactor
Ammonia reduction prior to discharge of treated wastewater protects fish and other aquatic organisms in Iowa’s waterways. Due to economies of scale, many ammonia treatment processes utilized in urban areas are not affordable for small communities. This highlights the need for more affordable, alternative wastewater treatment options for small towns. My research explores how submerged attached growth bioreactors might meet this need. I will study how wastewater loading and seasonal temperatures impact the quantity and distribution of ammonia-oxidizing and nitrate-reducing bacteria within the bioreactors. Additionally, I hypothesize that anaerobic ammonia oxidizing bacteria will be present. An aquatic nitrogen balance will estimate nitrogen removal potential from nitrogen gas formation and from ammonia volatilization. This research will better enable regulators, engineers and scientists to reduce the size, improve the effectiveness, and lower the cost to build these systems in small Iowa towns.