The objective of this study was to investigate the performance of the upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor as the pretreatment system for silk-dyeing wastewater. Two laboratory-scale UASB reactors, with working volume of 15.59 l, were used during May 1998 to June 1999. The actual wastewater was diluted to reduce ammonium ion toxicity on anaerobic bacteria. The experiments were conducted at the organic loading rates (OLRs) of 0.52, 1.01, 1.04, 1.54 and 2.56 kgCOD/(m3.d), treating only wastewater generated from the acid-dye process of mixed-species raw silk. It took approximately 41/2 months to reach the steady-state conditions. It was found that the COD removal was in the ranges of 74.1-85.3% , except at OLR 2.56 kgCOD/(m3.d) where efficiency significantly dropped to 55.2%. The apparent color removal was in the similar trend as COD. During the study periods, wastewater input had various color shades while the effluent generally looked pale yellowish. The methane generation rates ranged from 0.18-0.31 m3/kg COD removed, with methane composition 81.0-88.1% in biogas. The average granule size in the sludge bed had slowly increased to 0.73 mm in the last experiment. It can be concluded that the UASB reactor is suitable as a pretreatment system for silk-dyeing wastewater. An OLR of 1 kgCOD/(m3.d) and an influent concentration diluted to 2,600 mgCOD/l are suggested while COD and apparent color removal efficiency of 80% and 70%, respectively, can be expected.

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