Halis Simesk

Halis Simsek is originally from Konya, Turkey. He received a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey. After that he received an M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Gebze Institute of Technology, Gebze, Turkey. His MS research entitled “Cyanide Treatment by Ion Exchange Resin.” Later on he moved to Indiana, USA and got another MS degree in Agricultural & Biological Engineering from Purdue University. He studied remote sensing, GIS (Geographic Information System) and large scale hydrological modeling. Halis Simsek is currently working on his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at North Dakota State University.

Phone: 701 2318955
E mail: halis.simsek@ndsu.edu
Personal website: http://www.acm.ndsu.nodak.edu/hosted/hsimsek/index.html

Fate of Biodegradable Dissolved Organic Nitrogen in Fargo Wastewater

Fellow: Halis Simsek

Advisor: Eakalak Khan, Ph.D., P.E., Department of Civil Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota

Matching Support: North Dakota State University

Degree Progress: Ph.D. expected in 2010

Description of the project:

The research project focuses on determining biodegradable dissolved organic nitrogen (BDON) in effluent from the Fargo Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). To determine BDON, measurements of total dissolved nitrogen (TDN), dissolved ammonia nitrogen (DNH3-N), dissolved nitrite nitrogen (DNO2-N), and dissolved nitrate nitrogen (DNO3-N) are required before and after incubation. These measurements are based on dissolved constituents and therefore filtration of wastewater samples is needed.

Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) usually represents a significant portion of nitrogen in the final effluent of wastewater treatment plants. The biodegradability of effluent DON is an important issue because biodegradable DON (BDON) can support algal growth and/or consume dissolved oxygen. As a result, several wastewater treatment plants in the United States recently have started to measure BDON in the final effluent in order to quantify how much of their effluent DON can potentially contribute to eutrophication and oxygen depletion in receiving waters.

Description of the Critical State or Regional Water Problem to be Investigated:

The Fargo Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Fargo, ND currently treats fifteen million gallons of wastewater per day which relies mainly on a tricking filter process for treating wastewater. The peak pumping capacity of the treatment plant is twenty nine million gallons per day. The plant employs two sets of trickling filters in series. The first set of trickling filters, known as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) filters, treats mainly carbonaceous BOD materials and reduces ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) concentration slightly through the microbial uptake as a nitrogen source. The second set of trickling filters converts NH3-N to nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) through biological nitrification to accommodate the minimal NH3-N removal in the BOD trickling filters. The Fargo WWTP is subjected to a NH3-N discharge limit. The fate of BDON through the Fargo WWTP has not been investigated. In addition, there has been no report on effluent BDON from BOD and nitrification trickling filters since the process is less common in wastewater utilities. Although the Fargo WWTP is currently subjected to only a NH3-N discharge limit, it is possible that the plant will be regulated on other N species or TN in the near future due to the more demanding regulation trend. Limiting effluent BDON will be crucial to meet the future discharge permit and to improve the quality of the Red River.

Project Objective: 

The main scope of this study is to collect BDON data along the treatment train of the Fargo WWTP in order to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To evaluate the eutrophication and oxygen depletion potentials of the Fargo WWTP effluent based on BDON content and photodegradability; and
  2. To examine BDON removal efficiency of different treatment units in the Fargo WWTP.

Significance of Research:

This research will greatly benefit the Fargo WWTP and the quality of the Red River. Eventually, the Fargo WWTP will be subjected to a more stringent regulation on N discharge permit. This research will provide the data that the plant can use for operational changes and process upgrade to meet the future regulation. For the first time, the potential impacts of N discharge from the Fargo WWTP on the quality of the Red River will be evaluated. Quantifying effluent BDON is the first step necessary for reducing its impacts on the Red River. The findings of this project will be presented at a national or regional conference and will be submitted for publication in a peer review journal. A final report containing all the information on the project including raw data will be delivered at the end of the project.

Halis Simesk at the deskHalis Simesk

Halis SimeskHalis Simesk lefting a bucket up

Dr. Eakalak Khan


Advisor: Dr. Eakalak Khan

Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering

North Dakota State University


701 231 7717