Denitrification is the conversion of nitrate- and/or nitrite-nitrogen (denitritation) to elemental nitrogen (nitrate reduction). This process is performed by anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria, which are grouped under the term denitrifiers.
In the absence of dissolved oxygen (O2) (anoxic conditions) and availability of readily degradable carbon, nitrate is converted to elemental nitrogen.
H+ ions are consumed in this reaction. Thus, alkalinity is recovered.
Depending on the composition of the wastewater, the readily degradable carbon is not always sufficiently available and must be added for proper process performance, which can lead to significant operating costs.

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