The performance of an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor and a hybrid UASB-filter reactor was investigated and compared for the treatment of domestic wastewater at different operational temperatures (28, 20, 14 and 10¡C) and loading rates. For each temperature studied a constant CODt removal was observed as long as the upflow velocity was lower than 0.35 m/h. At these upflow velocities similar removals were observed for both reactor types at 28 and 20¡C, 82 and 72% respectively. However, at 14 and 10¡C the UASB reactor showed a better COD removal (70% and 48%, respectively) than the hybrid reactor (60% and 38%).
COD removal resulted from biological degradation and solids accumulation in the reactors. At 28°C, a constant 200 g sludge mass was observed in both reactors and COD removal was attributed to biological degradation only. At lower temperatures, solids accumulation was observed in addition to biological degradation with an increase in reactor sludge as the temperature decreased. The decrease in biological degradation at lower temperatures was offset by solids accumulation and explains the similar overall COD removal efficiency observed at 28°C, 20°C and 14°C. The decrease in temperature was also followed by an increase in the effluent TSS concentration in both reactors. At 14 and 10°C a lower effluent TSS concentration and better performance was observed in the UASB reactor.