An enhanced biological phosphorus removal process (EBPR) was successfully operated in presence of acetate. When glycerol was substituted for acetate in the feed the EBPR process failed. Subsequently waste activated sludge (WAS) from the reactor was removed to an off-line fermenter. The same amount of glycerol was added to the WAS fermenter which led to significant volatile fatty acids (VFA) production. By supplying the system with the VFA-enriched supernatant of the fermentate, biological phosphorus removal was enhanced. It was concluded that, if glycerol was to be used as an external carbon source in EBPR, the effective approach was to ferment glycerol with waste activated sludge.
Keywords: biological phosphorus removal, external carbon addition, glycerol, VFA, waste activated sludge fermentation