This study explored a sulfur cycle-associated biological phosphorus (P) removal process in a covered and non-aerated sequencing batch reactor (SBR) fed with volatile fatty acid (VFA) and sulfate separately. During the 60-day start-up, both phosphate release and uptake rates increased, while poly-phosphate cyclically increased and decreased accordingly. The P-release and P-uptake rates were associated with VFA uptake and sulfate reduction. The average ratio of potassium to phosphate during the P-uptake and P-release was also determined to be 0.29–0.31 mol K/mol P, which is close to a reported value (0.33) for biological phosphorus removal. All this evidence confirmed there was biological P removal in this reactor, in which metabolism could be different from conventional biological P removal.
Keywords: phosphate release and uptake, sequencing batch reactor, sulfur cycle-associated process