A constructed rapid infiltration (CRI) system is a new type of sewage biofilm treatment technology, but due to its anaerobic zone it lacks the carbon sources and the conditions for nitrate retention, and its nitrogen removal performance is very poor. However, a shortcut nitrification–denitrification process presents distinctive advantages, as it saves oxygen, requires less organic matter, and requires less time for denitrification compared to conventional nitrogen removal methods. Thus, if the shortcut nitrification–denitrification process could be applied to the CRI system properly, a simpler, more economic, and efficient nitrogen removal method will be obtained. However, as its reaction process shows that the first and the most important step of achieving shortcut nitrification–denitrification is to achieve shortcut nitrification, in this study we explored the feasibility to achieve shortcut nitrification, which produces nitrite as the dominant nitrogen species in effluent, by the addition of potassium chlorate (KClO3
) to the influent. In an experimental CRI test system, the effects on nitrogen removal, nitrate inhibition, and nitrite accumulation were studied, and the advantages of achieving a shortcut nitrification–denitrification process were also analysed. The results showed that shortcut nitrification was successfully achieved and maintained in a CRI system by adding 5 mM KClO3
to the influent at a constant pH of 8.4. Under these conditions, the nitrite accumulation percentage was increased, while a lower concentration of 3 mM KClO3
had no obvious effect. The addition of 5mM KClO3
in influent presumably inhibited the activity of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), but inhibition of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) was so strong that it resulted in a maximum nitrite accumulation percentage of up to over 80%. As a result, nitrite became the dominant nitrogen product in the effluent. Moreover, if the shortcut denitrification process will be achieved in the subsequent research, it could save 60.27 mg CH3
OH per litre of sewage in the CRI system compared with the full denitrification process.
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