What this web site is about:

In environmental engineering denitrification generally refers to an anaerobic biological process in which nitrates (NO3) are ultimately reduced to atmospheric nitrogen (N2). Denitrification may play an integral role in maintaining the integrity of the receiving waters of wastewater treatment plant, depending on the ecology of the receiving body. Processes that control anthropogenic nitrogen are divided into two categories:

  1. Nitrification: biological processes that convert organic nitrogen and ammonia(NH3) into NO3, which is a less objectionable form. This process is basis of secondary treatment in wastewater technologies such as activated sludge. You will need to use the back option to return to this site.
  2. Processes designed to remove nitrogen (as opposed to nitrification which converts it to another form) from a wastewater. By combining nitrification with denitrification, organic nitrogen and ammonia is first oxidized to NO3 and then successively reduced to NO2 and then N2, which leaves the wastewater as an inert gas. The result is nitrogen removal, and this process is a type of tertiary treatment. Although technologies such as ion exchange, ammonia stripping, and breakpoint chlorination also remove nitrogen from a wastewater, they are generally categorized by convention as either nitrogen control or nitrogen removal processes, NOT as a denitrifying technology.

This site is designed to give an introduction to not only the technology of denitrification, but also to why it is important in environmental planning. Although denitrification is a relatively new technology (the first wastewater plant capable of denitrification went on line in 1969 at South Lake Tahoe, California), the subject is vast and the nitrogen cycle is intricate. This web site is intended to be introductory, not comprehensive. Those seeking more detail are referred to the annotated bibliography that concludes this site. It is the hope of the author that development of this bibliography will be ongoing project to facilitate research on the topic.

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