IWA Publishing

Continuous flow aerobic granular sludge reactor for dairy wastewater treatment


The focus of this study was to assess the treatment performance and granule progression over time within a continuous flow reactor. A continuous flow airlift reactor was seeded with aerobic granules from a laboratory scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) and fed with dairy wastewater. Stereomicroscopic investigations showed that the granules maintained their integrity during the experimental period. Laser diffraction investigation showed proof of new granules formation with 100–500 μm diameter after only 2 weeks of operation. The treatment performances were satisfactory and more or less similar to the ones obtained from the SBR. Thus, removal efficiencies of 81–93% and 85–94% were observed for chemical oxygen demand and biological oxygen demand, respectively. The N-NH+4 was nitrified with removal efficiencies of 83–99% while the nitrate produced was simultaneously denitrified – highest nitrate concentration determined in the effluent was 4.2 mg/L. The removal efficiency of total nitrogen was between 52 and 80% depending on influent nitrogen load (39.3–76.2 mg/L). Phosphate removal efficiencies ranged between 65 and above 99% depending on the influent phosphate concentration, which varied between 11.2 and 28.3 mg/L.

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