Although time-varying loads to biological treatment processes are common, typical kinetic models are based on steady-state loads and conditions. This paper uses nonsteady-state kinetics to demonstrate the impact of load variations on the effluent concentration and load from fixed-bed biofilm reactors. The different responses for reactors having average loads that are high, intermediate, and low are compared. In most cases, time-varying input loading, in comparison with steady input loading, causes an increase in average effluent concentration; however, certain combinations of load variation and reactor type allow better performance than do steady-state loads.

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