The process characteristics of an industrial scale trickling filter plant were quantified by means of a five day intensive measurement campaign with the use of on-line respirometry and on-line off-gas analysis. Respirometry was used to measure the readily biodegradable CODst and the off-gas sensor was used to monitor the O2 and CO2 content of the off-gases. To model the biodegradation in the filters, the model developed by Rauch et al. (1999) was used. It is based on the decoupling of two basic processes in biofilm systems, substrate diffusion and biodegradation. This model was extended with equations for the production and the pH-dependent liquid-phase equilibrium for inorganic carbon (IC). The measured effluent and off-gas concentrations could be followed very closely by the calibrated model. O2 and CO2 measurements revealed that the system was not always oxygen limited. The model calibration thus required the use of a very low value of the diffusion constant for readily biodegradable substrate.

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