Sulphide build-up in pressure sewers has been identified as the main cause for the occurrence of odour and corrosion in sewer systems. Despite the efforts to optimize commonly used control technologies such as nitrate and iron salts to reduce sulphide emission, continuous addition of these chemicals is still required. A biocidal agent such as free nitrous acid can be added intermittently, less frequently, and in smaller quantities whilst achieving total sulphide control. So far, laboratory and field studies in Australia and the USA have successfully proven and applied the use of this control technology, exhibiting its strong biocidal effects during intermittent addition. In this study, nine trials were made to assess the application of the free nitrous acid (FNA) as an alternative sulphide control technology in Germany. The sewer pilot plant of the Berlin Water Utility Company was used to perform the trials at a technical scale using a supply of raw sewage. FNA exposure times ranging from 5 to 24 h in varying concentrations were investigated. The effectiveness of the FNA treatment was monitored using the online hydrogen sulphide (H2
S) gas and dissolved-sulphide sensors installed in the sewer pilot plant. Effective sulphide control was only possible during dosing periods, with rapid resumption of sulphide production for the trials with exposure times of <12 h and concentrations ranging from 0.08 to 0.56 mg HNO2
suggesting a slight inhibitory effect. A more pronounced biocidal effect was observed for the trials exposed to FNA treatment for 24 h at concentrations >0.29 mg HNO2
. Overall, the trials of this study demonstrated that the biofilms were FNA resistant and that the concentrations and exposure times used were inadequate to develop an effective intermittent dosing strategy.
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