Examining the Latest Technology in Nutrient Analysis & Monitoring Systems

Nov. 1, 2005

About the author: Mohamed Aboul Eish is a marketing specialist with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc. He can be reached at 800/477-1227 or by e-mail at [email protected]. Robert Clifford is a production manager with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc. He can be reached at 800/477-1227 or by e-mail at [email protected].


Regulations are under way to control nutrient discharge into the environment. Wastewater treatment and water utilities that regulate nutrient levels will be issued permits, and the recommended goals they currently follow soon will be required standards they will have to meet.

In addition, utilities will have to find alternative techniques to the currently used manual techniques to help achieve maximum efficiency.

Current techniques require extensive labor in sampling and treatment, as well as in analysis of samples. To reduce the labor and, more importantly, the cost, monitoring within such utilities is reduced to biweekly, rather than hourly.

Reduction in the frequency of analysis/monitoring means the discharge is either over-treated or under-treated, due to lack of information. Under-treatment means more nutrients are discharged, and over-treatment means more carcinogenic chemicals are discharged, both of which will have a drastic effect on all aspects of the environment.

In addition, current research calls for alternative techniques to be used for analysis of nutrients, as variability in the results has been experienced with the currently used techniques.

Shimadzu recently introduced the new online TNPC-4110C analyzer for Total Nitrogen (TN), Total Phosphorus (TP) and Total Organic Carbon analysis. The analyzer demonstrates the latest technology in nutrients analysis systems on the market. The analyzer has the capability of automatically sampling, treating (physically and chemically), digesting and analyzing the samples.

As a result, maximum efficiency is achieved for present and future utilities through reduction of the involved labor, time and cost. Most importantly, the system facilitates adjusting the treatment of the discharge, creating a safer and better environment.

Recent installation

The analyzer recently was installed at Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant, operated by Howard County Bureau of Utilities in Columbia, Md. The analyzer was easily installed at the influent lines. Prior to installing the TNPC-4110C, plant staff analyzed the influent biweekly to reduce the labor and cost involved in analysis, which meant less information about the nutrient levels; accordingly, the treatment of the discharge was affected.

After the analyzer was installed, the frequency of analysis increased from biweekly to hourly, as no labor is involved in the process.

The TNPC-4110C enabled an increase in frequency of analysis, displaying a better monitoring system with a faster response, resulting in a more effective treatment that can be adjusted according to the level of the nutrients.

“The online instrument’s results showed excellent correlation with our laboratory analyses for TN and TP,” said Rebecca Kugel, engineering supervisor for the Howard County (Md.) Department of Public Works. “We were impressed with the low maintenance of the instrument. Reagent and standard consumption was also minimal.”

Since experiencing the ease and reliability of the analysis/monitoring process with the Shimadzu analyzer, the plant is looking forward to connecting the instrument at other points within the utility to help monitor nutrients and adjust the treatment, specifically at points after the biological nutrient reactors and clarifiers, and before effluent discharge.