Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr. Tryg Lundquist


This thesis discusses the mechanisms associated with the removal of organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater-fed high rate algae ponds (HRAP) designed to operate as triplicates. Research was conducted at the San Luis Obispo Water Reclamation Facility (SLOWRF) as a pilot-scale study of nine 30-square meter ponds one foot in depth. During period of study, triplicates were operated at hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 4, 3 or 2-days. Main objectives for the study were to determine minimum HRTs required to achieve secondary and tertiary treatment. Experimental conditions such as CO2 supplementation, nighttime aeration and operation of ponds in series were employed to evaluate optimal conditions for efficient nutrient removal. Ponds were continuously fed primary effluent with the following water quality characteristics: 5-day total biochemical oxygen demand (TBOD5) of 124mg/L, 5-day soluble carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand of 67mg/L (scBOD5), total suspended solids (TSS) of 66mg/L, volatile suspended solids (VSS) of 65mg/L, total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) of 34mg/L-N, oxidized nitrogen of 1.1mg/L-N, total K̇jeldahl nitrogen (TKN) of 42mg/L-N and dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) of 3.3mg/L-P. Nutrient removal efficiencies were compared between summer months (April – October) and winter months (November – February). Average pond temperatures during summer and winter were 20.4 °C and 14.9 °C, respectively. Average TAN removal efficiencies of 2-day HRT ponds ranged from 62% in winter to 78% in summer. Operation of ponds at an increased 3-day HRTs resulted in corresponding seasonal increases of TAN removal by 14% and 12%. In 4-day HRT ponds operating in series after a 3-day HRT set, TAN removal efficiency was 98% in winter and 99% in summer. Aeration increased nitrification and nitrate concentrations in 2-day HRT ponds to10mg/L-N ± 4.4mg/L-N. DRP concentrations and BOD removal efficiencies within replicate ponds were similar throughout seasonality. DRP was 1.2mg/L-P ± 0.66mg/L-P at a 4-day HRT operating in series, 2.2mg/L-P ± 0.57mg/L-P at a 3-day HRT and 2.6mg/L-P ± 0.58mg/L-P at a 2-day HRT. Aeration had no measureable effect on BOD removal. BOD removal efficiency was 97% at a 4-day HRT in series with a 3-day HRT and 95% at 3-day and 2-day HRTs.