Wastewater treatment and reuse is being emphasized due to the shortage of water sources and the continuous deterioration of the aquatic environment. In this study, a novel sponge bioreactor was studied as a low cost, high efficiency alternative for an attached growth biological system. This was designed by combining of number of sponge trays. This emerging technology has many beneficial properties in wastewater treatment and reuse. The approaches towards the conditions for system design were: (i) selection of sponge types; (ii) selection of sponge shapes; and (iii) selection of designated slope of sponge tray. They were determined through a series of experiments using a laboratory-scale unit with synthetic wastewater. It was then tested with a pilot-scale unit at the predetermined optimum conditions. The results indicate that the highest biomass growth was found at the sponge type with a cell count of 70–90 cells/in2 (6.45 cm2) The relationship between biomass growth and biological oxygen consumption was well established. The prism-shaped sponge (triangular polyurethane sponge of 70–90 cells/in2 with designated slope of sponge tray at 10 degrees) led to the best performance in terms of both organic and nutrient removal efficiency.

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