This research aimed at the investigation of an overland flow system applied to the post-treatment of anaerobic effluents. The system treated domestic sewage in Itabira City (Brazil), being composed by an anaerobic reactor and an overland flow system, the latter working as a post-treatment unit. A portion of the reactor's effluent was directed to a group of three overland flow slopes (demonstration scale), that were operated with different application rates. During Phase 1 of the research, the overland flow system was fed under a permanent hydraulic regime (constant flows), having as inflow the effluent from an UASB reactor (full-scale, volume of 477 m3). During Phase 2, the overland system was fed under a hydraulic transient pattern (variable flows with hourly variations), having as inflow the effluent from a partitioned UASB reactor (demonstration-scale, volume of 9 m3). In general, the performance of the overland flow system as a polishing step was very good, mainly because of the low solids and organic matter concentration in the final effluent (average values of BOD from 48 to 62 mg/L; COD from 98 to 119 mg/L and SS from 17 to 57 mg/L). Regarding nutrients and coliforms, the system also reached satisfactory efficiency levels. Based on the experience obtained with this study, it is suggested that overland flow systems, working as post-treatment step of UASB reactors, can work with application rates in the range of 0.4 to 0.5 m3/m.h, which are higher than those normally applied.

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