Biological aerated filtration is a viable option for small municipal wastewater treatment plants. A low cost filter media was obtained by triturating volcanic rock. An apparent porosity of 46 % and a specific surface area of 395 m2/m3·d were obtained once the filter was packed by using a grain size of 8.2 mm. The performance of the system, operated as a biological filter, was evaluated under an average organic load of 2.6±0.4 kgCODT/m3·d (6.7±1.1 gCODT/m2·d) without primary and secondary settling. The average CODT decreased from 220 mg/l in the influent to 88 mg/l in the effluent and the CODD was decreased from 148 mg/l in the influent to 50 mg/l in the effluent. The filter media, in combination with the biofilm, allowed a 75 % TSS removal. The ammonia nitrogen decreased from 51 mg/l in the influent to 33 mg/l in the effluent. The maximum flux coefficients of 9.3gCODdissolved/m2·d and 2.9gNH4-N/m2·d at the biofilm surface were used to simulate, with the Michaelis-Menten model, the profiles of dissolved COD, ammonium and nitrates through the aerated filter. It was possible to conclude that the backwashing procedure removed the excess biomass and was responsible for a homogeneous distribution of heterotrophic and autotrophic microorganisms along the filter depth.

This content is only available as a PDF.