This study presents the results of research on a wastewater treatment system with four identical facultative ponds in series with step-feeding and recirculation (SFFPR). Four modes of distribution of the influent were studied, which were (in percentages of the inflow per pond): C1 = 25/25/25/25; C2 = 50/20/20/10; C3 = 50/50/0/0; C4 = 100/0/0/0. The organic loading applied to the four ponds overall was around 200 kg BOD5/ha.d. The distribution C4 = 100/0/0/0 was selected for studying the recycle rate. Three recycling rates were studied: 0.5Q, 1Q and 2Q. COD and BOD5 removal efficiencies were high whatever the step-feed distribution. For the distribution C1 and C2, the four ponds were homogeneous. The equal distribution of organic loading rate in C2 distribution was most beneficial for algal growth. For piston pattern distributions (C3 and C4), the ponds receiving the highest loading showed a bacterial biomass higher than that of the primary production. Increasing the recirculation rate seemed to lead towards homogenisation of the ponds, while a decrease appeared to lead to their individualisation and increased their productivity. The SFFPR constitutes a stage of the treatment process which can replace the facultative stage; it produces a high effluent quality and decreases land area requirements.

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