Waste stabilisation ponds (WSPs) have been used for the treatment of dairy farm wastewater in New Zealand since the 1970s. The conventional two pond WSP systems provide efficient removal of wastewater BOD5 and total suspended solids, but effluent concentrations of other pollutants including nutrients and faecal bacteria are now considered unsuitable for discharge to waterways. Advanced Pond Systems (APS) provide a potential solution. A pilot dairy farm APS consisting of an Anaerobic pond (the first pond of the conventional WSP system) followed by three ponds: a High Rate Pond (HRP), an Algae Settling Pond (ASP) and a Maturation Pond (which all replace the conventional WSP system facultative pond) was evaluated over a two year period. Performance was compared to that of the existing conventional dairy farm WSP system. APS system effluent quality was considerably higher than that of the conventional WSP system with respective median effluent concentrations of BOD5: 34 and 108 g m-3, TSS: 64 and 220 g m-3, NH4-N: 8 and 29 g m-3, DRP: 13 and 17 g m-3, and E. coli: 146 and 16195 MPN/100 ml. APS systems show great promise for upgrading conventional dairy farm WSPs in New Zealand.

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