In order to evaluate the characteristics of aerobic granular sludge, a sequencing batch reactor, feeding with synthetic wastewater at the organic loading rate of 8 kg COD/m3 d, was employed on the laboratory scale. Granules occurred in the reactor within 1 week after the inoculation from conventional flocculent sludge. Aerobic granular sludge was characterised by the outstanding settling properties and considerable contaminates removal efficiencies. The SVI30 values were in the range of 20 to 40 ml g−1. However, the sludge volume index of short settling time (e.g. SVI10 – 10 min) is suggested to describe the fast settling properties of aerobic granular sludge. The potential application in the decentralised system is evaluated from the point view of footprint and high bioactivity. The occurrence of sloughing, resulting from the outgrowth of filamentous organisms, would be responsible for the instability of aerobic granules. The starvation phase should therefore be carefully controlled for the maintenance and stability of aerobic granular sludge system.

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