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Lagoon Ammonia

Many lagoons are receiving ammonia discharge requirements.

Here’s why – and how to help your lagoon remove ammonia.

Ammonia’s effect on the environment

  • At dilute concentrations, ammonia is highly toxic to fish and amphibious life.
  • If unchecked, ammonia will deplete the number and size of the fish population.
  • Environmental regulators across North America have begun implementing stricter ammonia effluent requirements on wastewater lagoons.
Dead Fish

How do we remove ammonia? Nitrification.

  • Nitrification is the process by which ammonia is converted to nitrites (NO2-) and then nitrates (NO3-).
  • This conversion is performed by nitrifying bacteria: Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter.
Ammonia molecules

What are the conditions needed for nitrification?

Key factors for lagoons include:

  1. Low BOD < 30 mg/L
  2. Sufficient alkalinity
  3. Oxygen: 4.6 lb/O2/lb TKN
  4. Mixing
  5. Temperature
  6. Low Toxicity
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Lagoons struggle with temperature

  • Typical municipal lagoons will nitrify during the summer.
  • Lagoon water temperatures are highly dependent on ambient temperatures.
  • Once the water temperature dips below 10° C, nitrification drops off and effluent ammonia starts to increase.
Desotonh3 Dark 01

Leverages lagoons.
Fits any site.
Low cost nitrification.

Nitrox Diagram
BOD Removal
Onshore Blowers
NitrOx Reactor
Direct Discharge

Growing more nitrifiers overcomes low temperatures

  • Nitrifiers are attached growth organisms and will grow on surface area within the reactors.
  • More surface area = more nitrifiers = more nitrification at colder temperatures.
  • A larger population of nitrifiers can nitrify in water temperatures as low as 0.2° C.
  • High surface area media allow for smaller footprint and lower media costs.
Nitrox system without crane

Ares provides efficient aeration & mixing

The Ares Aerator® inside the NitrOx tanks provides:
  • Oxygen transfer efficiency (SOTE) of up to 2.4%/ft of submergence.
  • Mixing of 7,800 GPM per aerator.
  • Portability for easy maintenance of system.
Ares Exploded 3 2023

Related Blog Posts

New EPA rules have mandated operators to remove ammonia from wastewater lagoons. Learn why BOD removal, pH, water temp levels and mixing are important.

There are several sources of lagoon ammonia in wastewater lagoons. Learn how lagoons remove ammonia through the process of nitrification.

Excess lagoon sludge impacts the quality of treatment by releasing BOD and ammonia back into the water column. Our video blog explains it all.


Download the NitrOx brochure.

Learn how small-footprint NitrOx works within existing infrastructure to cost-effectively meet low ammonia limits year round, no matter how cold it gets.

Nitrox Cover
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We’re ready to help.

Whether you’re looking for an ammonia solution for your lagoon or just have a quick question about algae, we’re here for you.

We want to be your #1 resource for all things wastewater lagoons. If we can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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