The results of research concerning the feasibility of anaerobic treatment of domestic sewage at low temperature are summarized in this article. The batch tests demonstrated a high biodegradability of domestic sewage at 20°C (74%). Both batch and continuous experiments for the treatment of domestic sewage showed that the removal of SS prior to anaerobic treatment of domestic sewage not only provides a stable reactor performance but also improves the removal of both colloidal (CODcol) and dissolved COD (CODdis). The results of the pre-treatment of domestic sewage in an anaerobic filter (AF) and an anaerobic hybrid (AH) reactor showed that the AF reactor is an efficient process for the removal of suspended COD (CODss), viz. 82%, at an HRT of 4 h and 13°C. The novel AF reactor consists of vertical sheets of reticulated polyurethane foam with knobs, where the biomass was only in attached form. For the treatment of pre-settled sewage at 13°C, the AH reactor, with granular sludge, showed a higher total COD (CODt) removal than the UASB reactor as a result of higher CODcol removal. Therefore, the performance of a two-step system, AF+AH (with granular sludge) reactor, was investigated with different HRTs at 13°C. For optimization of CODss and CODdis an HRT of 4+4 h is needed, while for optimization of CODcol removal an HRT of 4+8 h is required. A CODt removal of 71% was achieved with 60% conversion to methane from the removed CODt when the AF+AH system was operated at an HRT of 4+8 h at 13°C.

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