Treatment of high-strength synthetic sewage in a laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) with aerobic activated sludge (AS) post-treatment

Qais H Banihani, Jim A Field
Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering 2013, 48 (3): 338-47
Performance of a combined system up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) followed by aerobic treatment activated sludge (AS) for removal of carbonaceous and nitrogenous contaminants at an average temperature of 25°C was investigated. The combined system was fed with high strength synthetic sewage having chemical oxygen demand (COD) of 2500 mg L(-1). The organic loading rate (OLR) of the UASB reactor was increased gradually from 1.1 to 3.8 gCOD L(r) (-1) d(-1). At steady state condition, the UASB reactor achieved removal efficiency up to 83.5% of total COD (COD(tot)), 74.0% of volatile fatty acid (VFA) and 94.0% of protein. The combined system performed an excellent organic removal pushing the overall removal efficiency of COD(tot), VFA and protein to 91.0%, 99.9% and 98.2%, respectively. When the OLR of the UASB increased to 4.4 g COD L(r) (-1) d(-1), the UASB was overloaded and; thus, its effluent quality deteriorated. In respect to nitrogen removal, both partial nitrification and complete nitrification took place in aerobic post-treatment. When the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration was >2.0 mg L(-1), complete nitrification (period B) occurred with an average nitrification efficiency of 96.2%. The partial nitrification occurred due to high OLR to AS during the overloading event (period A) and when DO concentration was <2.0 mg L(-1) (period C). The maximum accumulated nitrite concentration in periods A, B and C were 90.0, 0.9 and 75.8 mg NO(-) (2) -N L(-1), respectively. The nitrogen balance results of periods A and C indicated that there was a discrepancy between the amount of ammonium nitrogen removed and the amount of oxidized nitrogen formed. This suggests the occurrence of simultaneous nitrification/denitrification (SND) in aerobic post-treatment.


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