In order to investigate the feasibility of biological treatment of hypersaline wastewater produced from toilet flushing with seawater at low temperature, pilot-scale studies were established with plug-flow activated sludge process at low temperature (5–9°C) based on bench-scale experiments. The critical salinity concentration of 30g/L, which resulted from the cooperation results of the non-halophilic bacteria and the halophilic bacteria, was drawn in bench-scale experiments. Pilot-scale studies showed that high COD removal efficiency, higher than 80%, was obtained at low temperature when 30 percent seawater was introduced. The salinity improved the settleability of activated sludge, and average sludge value dropped down from 38% to 22.5% after adding seawater. Seawater salinity had a strong negative effect on notronomonas and nitrobacter growth, but much more on the nitrobacter. The nitrification action was mainly accomplished by nitrosomonas. Bench-scale experiments using two SBRs were carried out for further investigation under different conditions of salinities, ammonia loadings and temperatures. Biological nitrogen removal via nitrite pathway from wastewater containing 30 percent seawater was achieved, but the ammonia removal efficiency was strongly related not only to the influent ammonia loading at different salinities but also to temperature. When the ratio of seawater to wastewater was 30 percent, and the ammonia loading was below the critical value of 0.15kgNH4+-N/(kgMLSS.d), the ammonia removal efficiency via nitrite pathway was above 90%. The critical level of ammonia loading was 0.15, 0.08 and 0.03kgNH4+-N/(kgMLSS.d) respectively at the different temperature 30°C, 25°C and 20°C when the influent ammonia concentration was 60–80mg/L and pH was 7.5–8.0.

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