A comprehensive wastewater treatment system that accomplishes oxidation of organic matter, nitrification, and denitrification was developed, and its characteristics and performance were investigated. A municipal wastewater was treated by an up-flow aerated biofilter (UAB), in which biofilms were developed on stainless meshes installed horizontally. This UAB exhibited a great potential ability of oxidation of organic matter, SS stabilization, and nitrification due to a unique aeration mechanism giving high DO concentrations with relatively low aeration rates. Another unique feature of the UAB was that attached biofilms on stainless meshes physically filtered out and/or adsorbed suspended solids in the wastewater in addition to the biological oxidation of organic matter. A stable nitrification could be achieved at HRT=10 hours corresponding to a hydraulic loading of 86 L m−2 d−1 and at a ratio of aeration rate to wastewater flow rate (A/W) of 2, which is considerably low as compared to aeration rates of typical activated sludge systems. This UAB system also could handle relatively high hydraulic loading rates. The UAB used in this study still have enough space to install more stainless meshes so as to reduce hydraulic loading rates resulting in the reduction of HRT and aeration rate, which leads to improvement of the system performance as well as reduction of the running cost.

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