Dairy raw wastewater is characterised by high concentrations and fluctuations of organic matter and nutrient loads related to the discontinuity in the cheese production cycle and machinery washing. The applicability of a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) filled with FLOCOR-RMP® plastic media to the treatment of dairy wastewater was evaluated in a pilot-plant. COD fractionation of influent wastewater, MBBR performance on COD and nutrient removal were investigated. A removal efficiency of total COD over 80% was obtained with an applied load up to 52.7 gCOD m−2 d−1 (corresponding to 5 kgCOD m−3d−1). The COD removal kinetics for the MBBR system was assessed. The order of the kinetics resulted very close to half-order in the case of a biofilm partially penetrated by the substrate. The nitrogen removal efficiency varied widely between 13.3 and 96.2% due to the bacterial synthesis requirement. The application of a MBBR system to dairy wastewater treatment may be appropriate when upgrading overloaded activated sludge plants or in order to minimise reactor volumes in a pre-treatment.

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