A sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treating the effluent of a motorway service station in the south of England situated on a major tourist route was investigated. Wastewater from the kitchens, toilets and washrooms facilities was collected from the areas on each side of the motorway for treatment on-site. The SBR was designed for a population equivalent (p.e.) of 500, assuming an average flow of 100 m3/d, influent biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of 300 mg/l, and influent suspended solids (SS) of 300 mg/l. Influent monitoring over 8 weeks revealed that the average flow was only 65 m3/d and the average influent BOD and SS were 480 mg/l and 473 mg/l respectively. This corresponded to a high sludge loading rate (F:M) of 0.42 d−1 which accounted for poor performance. Therefore the cycle times were extended from 6 h to 7 h and effluent BOD improved from 79 to 27 mg/l.

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