Intermittent infiltration percolation of wastewater through unsaturated sand bed is an extensive treatment technique aimed at eliminating organic matter, oxidizing ammonium and removing pathogens. The main purpose of this study was to determine the depuration efficiencies of a sand filter to remove contaminants from secondary wastewater effluents. Elimination of pathogenic bacteria (total and faecal coliforms, streptococci) and their relationship with the filter depth were investigated. Results showed a high capacity of infiltration percolation process to treat secondary effluents. Total elimination of suspended solids was obtained. Mean removal rate of BOD5 and COD was more than 97 and more than 81%, respectively. Other water quality parameters such as NH4-N, TKN and PO4-P showed significant reduction except NO3-N which increased significantly in the filtered water. Efficiency of pathogenic bacteria removal was shown to mainly depend on the filter depth. Average reductions of 2.35 log total coliforms, 2.47 log faecal coliforms and 2.11 log faecal streptococci were obtained. The experimental study has shown the influence of the temperature on the output purification of infiltration percolation process.
Keywords: contaminants, infiltration percolation, pathogenic bacteria, sand filters, wastewater