Ponds following anaerobic reactors, such as Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactors, have been termed polishing ponds in the literature. The present paper analyses the removal of E. coli and helminth eggs in five UASB–polishing pond systems in Brazil. Since there were ponds in series, the total number of ponds was 10. The ponds had average retention times varying from 2 to 21 days, and depths ranging from 0.40 to 2.00 m. The shallow ponds in series, even with low retention times, were able to produce effluents complying with the coliform WHO guidelines for unrestricted irrigation (≤1000 MPN/100 ml). An equation for the coliform decay coefficient was proposed: Kb (dispersed flow)=0.710 H−0.955 (20 °C). The equation highlights the inverse relationship between the pond depth and the decay coefficient. All polishing pond systems were able to produce effluents with helminth eggs concentrations predominantly equal to zero, and satisfying the WHO guidelines for unrestricted and restricted irrigation (≤1 egg/L, arithmetic mean). The approximate range of helminth eggs removal efficiency was predicted satisfactorily.

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