A general analysis is made of the current treatment methods for industrial wastewater. Mechanical, physico-chemical and biological treatment processes are discussed and the pros and contras of aerobic versus anaerobic treatment are listed, in terms of BOD and COD reduction, energy demand, operational aspects, land use, sensitivity and sludge production. In general, anaerobic treatment is attractive in cases where wastewater with high BOD concentrations has to be treated while aerobic treatment is less sensitive and allows (de) nitrification in the same reactor.
The latest developments in wastewater treatment, such as the ANAMET and the Gist-Brocades systems, are presented. Three cases of industrial wastewater treatment are elaborated, concerning effluents from a tannery, a slaughterhouse and an oil refinery.