Bench and pilot scale nutrient removal activated sludge units were used to examine the effect of factors such as temperature, substrate type (easily biodegradable in the form of acetate and slowly biodegradable in the form of oleic acid) on Microthrix parvicella growth. The configurations examined include complete mix with and without selectors (anoxic and anaerobic) and plug flow reactors. The results indicate that low temperatures and substrates in the form of long chain fatty acids favour the growth of M. parvicella. With respect to reactor configuration, a plug flow configuration was shown to be quite effective in controlling the growth of M. parvicella and producing a sludge with good settling characteristics, while the presence of a selector, either anoxic or anaerobic, had no significant effect on the growth of M. parvicella.

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