Pilot-scale experiments were carried out applying the SBBR process (Sequencing Batch Biofilm Reactor) for the treatment of winery wastewater. The aim was the evaluation of the SBBR performance and the development of a control strategy based on dissolved oxygen (DO) for the optimisation of the SBBR treatment cycle and the minimisation of the energy supply. The results of the experimentation have confirmed the applicability of the SBBR process pointing out high COD removal efficiencies between 86% and 99%, with applied loads up to 29 gCOD m−2 d−1, corresponding to 8.8 kgCOD m−3 d−1. The on-line monitoring of DO concentration appeared as a good indicator of the progress in the COD biodegradation. The control strategy for the ending of the SBBR cycles was based on the time derivative of the DO concentration. The optimised control strategy makes it possible to obtain a steady quality of the effluent wastewater with an average daily applied load of 6.3 kgCOD m−3 d−1 rather than 3.5 kgCOD m−3 d−1 for the non-optimised SBBR cycle. The possibility of optimising the SBBR cycle through a simple control of the DO in the mixed liquor could be an interesting solution for the biological pre-treatment of winery wastewater to be discharged into sewerage or as a single-stage of a combined treatment plant for the discharge into surface water.

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