The present study evaluates the performance of a real scale domestic wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), operating under continuous flow conditions with ‘extremely high sludge age’, designed to remove organic matter and perform nitrification-denitrification within a single reactor under cyclic aeration. Composite samples were withdrawn from the reactor for one week and their analysis results compared satisfactorily with the calculations of the design models. The WWTP is operating under stable conditions with a BOD5 removal of 86%, COD removal of 87%, TKN removal of 73% and, unexpectedly, a stable removal of 55% of total phosphorus. The design of the WWTP is simple and consists of a single aeration tank with a kinetic selector and a secondary sedimentation tank, operating under cyclic conditions in the aeration tank, with 45-minute aeration on (oxic environment) and 15 minutes aeration off (anoxic environment). The system can be applied to upgrade WWTP from secondary to tertiary treatment with only small modifications. A phosphorus removal mechanism is also proposed.

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