The performance of an EGSB (expanded granular sludge bed) reactor type using flocculent sludge was evaluated for the post-treatment of effluent from UASB reactor treating domestic sewage. A pilot-scale 157.5-L EGSB reactor was monitored during a 331-day period. The original concept of the EGSB reactor was based on granular sludge use and by applying of high upflow liquid velocities (Vup). However, even using flocculent sludge from a UASB full-scale (Mangueira Plant, Recife, Brazil), good mixing conditions and high retention of biomass were achieved. By applying a 4-h hydraulic retention time and Vup values up to 3.75 m/h, effluent chemical oxygen demand concentrations in the EGSB were below 87 mg/L and 55 mg/L, for total and filtered samples, respectively. Total suspended solid (TSS) concentrations in the effluent were below 32 mg/L. Good performance and stable reactor operation during the whole experimental period were observed. Therefore, the EGSB reactor type using flocculent sludge can also be used for post-treatment of very dilute anaerobic effluent from reactors treating domestic sewage.

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