In this study, a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) connected with a two step anaerobic digestion system is proposed in order to investigate the possibility of simultaneous C, N and P removal from wastewater. The system was studied using synthetic wastewater. In this system, the effluent of nitrate from the SBR reactor is added to the acidogenic reactor influent. Nitrate elimination and VFA production are then achieved together in the acidogenic reactor. The performances of three lab-scale reactors, operated for C, N and P biological removal are analyzed. The removals of TOC, TN and TP-PO4 were greater than 96%, 75% and 86%, respectively. The results show that the combination of anaerobic digestion in two step-SBR treatment is effective for simultaneous C, N and P removal. The benefits from this process are the saving of carbon source for denitrification and phosphorus removal. Reactor arrangement made possible the existence of zones where the different bacterial populations involved could coexist. Complete denitrification occurs in acidogenic reactor and hence the methanogenic activity is not reduced nor inhibited by N-NO3 presence, allowing greater TOC removal. A stable P-release and P-uptake took place after coupling of the three reactors. Furthermore, a fast settling, compact sludge is generated in the SBR with the operational conditions applied.

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