Anaerobic biodegradability and treatment of grey water in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor

Tarek A Elmitwalli, Ralf Otterpohl
Water Research 2007, 41 (6): 1379-87
Feasibility of grey water treatment in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor operated at different hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 16, 10 and 6h and controlled temperature of 30 degrees C was investigated. Moreover, the maximum anaerobic biodegradability without inoculum addition and maximum removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) fractions in grey water were determined in batch experiments. High values of maximum anaerobic biodegradability (76%) and maximum COD removal in the UASB reactor (84%) were achieved. The results showed that the colloidal COD had the highest maximum anaerobic biodegradability (86%) and the suspended and dissolved COD had similar maximum anaerobic biodegradability of 70%. Furthermore, the results of the UASB reactor demonstrated that a total COD removal of 52-64% was obtained at HRT between 6 and 16 h. The UASB reactor removed 22-30% and 15-21% of total nitrogen and total phosphorous in the grey water, respectively, mainly due to the removal of particulate nutrients. The characteristics of the sludge in the UASB reactor confirmed that the reactor had a stable performance. The minimum sludge residence time and the maximum specific methanogenic activity of the sludge ranged between 27 and 93 days and 0.18 and 0.28 kg COD/(kg VS d).

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