A mathematical model is presented to predict the concentrations of the active heterotrophic biomass, the readily biodegradable substrate (soluble COD) and the dissolved oxygen (DO) in a completely aerobic oxidation ditch. The model involves the one-dimensional convection-dispersion equations for biomass, COD and DO. Hydrodynamic effects are represented in the model by the values of the average flow velocity and the dispersion coefficient. Biological processes are described in the model according to the IA WPRC activated sludge model, using typical values for the model parameters at 10°C. The equations are solved with the finite volume method. The application of the model leads to the following conclusions: (i) Steady state biomass concentrations are almost constant throughout the ditch. (ii) Steady state COD concentrations in the ditch are very low, and COD removal efficiency is practically independent of the values of the flow velocity and the dispersion coefficient. The distribution of the COD concentration in the ditch is less uniform, when small values of the dispersion coefficient are used. (iii) The distribution of the DO concentration in the ditch is very sensitive to the values of the flow velocity, the dispersion coefficient and to the capacity of the rotors. DO concentrations increase when the dispersion coefficient decreases or the flow velocity increases. (v) Daily sludge production, oxygen requirements and sludge age are calculated equal to 0.44 g (g COD removed)‒1, 0.56 g (g incoming COD)‒1 and 6.3 days, respectively.

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