The treatability of raw sewage in a temperate climate (wintertime around 10–20°C) using an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor and the hanging sponge cubes process was evaluated. After being seeded with digested sewage sludge, a 47.1 L UASB reactor was continuously operated for more than 2 years by feeding raw sewage, which had average COD around 300 mg/L (41% soluble). During summertime at an HRT of 7 h, effluent COD approximately 70 mg/L total, 50 mg/L soluble and BOD5 20 mg/L total, 12 mg/L soluble was obtained. During wintertime also, treatment efficiency and process stability was good.
With the hanging sponge cubes process using the effluent of the UASB reactor treating raw sewage, the following results were obtained. The ammonia oxidation rates of 1.9 and 3.5 g NH4-N·m−2·d−1 in a downflow hanging sponge cubes biofilter, under natural air intake only were obtained during wintertime and summertime, respectively. With post-denitrification and an external carbon source, 84% in average N (NO3+NO2) was removed with an HRT of less than 1 hour and in the temperature range of 13 to 30°C using an upflow submerged hanging sponge bed bioreactor, under anaerobic conditions. The overall system using a UASB reactor and the hanging sponge cubes process could be quite an attractive treatment alternative.