Long-term performance evaluation of EBPR process in tropical climate: start-up, process stability, and the effect of operational pH and influent C:P ratio

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

To date, little information is known about the operation of the enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) process in tropical climates. Along with the global concerns on nutrient pollution and the increasing array of local regulatory requirements, the applicability and compliance accountability of the EBPR process for sewage treatment in tropical climates is being evaluated. A sequencing batch reactor (SBR) inoculated with seed sludge from a conventional activated sludge (CAS) process was successfully acclimatized to EBPR conditions at 28 °C after 13 days' operation. Enrichment of Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis in the SBR was confirmed through fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The effects of operational pH and influent C:P ratio on EBPR were then investigated. At pH 7 or pH 8, phosphorus removal rates of the EBPR processes were relatively higher when operated at C:P ratio of 3 than C:P ratio of 10, with 0.019–0.020 and 0.011–0.012 g-P/g-MLVSS•day respectively. One-year operation of the 28 °C EBPR process at C:P ratio of 3 and pH 8 demonstrated stable phosphorus removal rate of 0.020 ± 0.003 g-P/g-MLVSS•day, corresponding to effluent with phosphorus concentration <0.5 mg/L. This study provides the first evidence on good EBPR activity at relatively high temperature, indicating its applicability in a tropical climate.

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