A 1700 p.e. pilot infiltration percolation plant treating the sewage of Mazagon, a seaside resort in the South of Spain, is investigated. Primary effluents, intermittently applied over twin 200 m2 infiltration basins, percolate down to the aquifer through unsaturated dune sands. Each application sequence delivers a volume of 0.25 m3 per m2 of infiltration basin. Analyses of the water sampled at five depths ranging from 0.3 to 2.0 m below the infiltration surface show that the oxidation performance of the plant is highly dependent on the applied load. Monitoring the oxygen content in the air phase of the vadose zone allows to determine the kinetics of the oxygen stock recovery and the oxidation capacity of the plant. Disappointing removal of faecal coliforms and streptococci is attributed to high pore water velocities due to infiltration heterogeneity and the high water height applied during each feeding sequence.

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