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Selection of organic substrates as potential reactive materials for use in a denitrification permeable reactive barrier (PRB)

Gibert, Oriol and Pomierny, Sywia and Rowe, Ivan and Kalin, Robert M. (2008) Selection of organic substrates as potential reactive materials for use in a denitrification permeable reactive barrier (PRB). Bioresource Technology, 99 (16). pp. 7587-7596. ISSN 0960-8524

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The aim of the present study was to select a suitable natural organic substrate as a potential carbon source for use in a denitrification permeable reactive barrier (PRB). A number of seven organic substrates were first tested in batch tests. The materials attained varying degrees of success at promoting denitrification. Some of the organic substrates performed very well, achieving complete nitrate removal (>98%), while others were considered unsuitable for a variety of reasons, including: insufficient nitrate or nitrogen removal, excessive release of leachable nitrogen from the substrate or excessive reduction of nitrate to ammonium rather than removing it as gaseous N2. The top performing substrate in terms of denitrification extent (>98%) and rate () was then selected for two bench-scale column experiments in an attempt to simulate the PRB. The inlet concentration was 50 mg dm−3 and the columns operated at two different flow rates: 0.3 cm3 min−1 (Column 1) and 1.1 cm3 min−1 (Column 2). The two columns showed different general patterns, making it clear that the flow rate was a key factor at the nitrate removal. Nitrate was completely removed (>96%) by the passage through Column 1, while only partially removed in Column 2 (66%). The results indicated that the selected organic substrate (Softwood) was applicable for further use as a filling material for a PRB.