This paper presents the behaviour of a full-scale expanded bed reactor (160 m3) with overlaid anaerobic and aerobic zones used for municipal wastewater treatment. The research was carried out in two experimental steps: anaerobic and anaerobic–aerobic conditions, and the experimental results presented in this paper refer to four months of reactor operation. In the anaerobic condition, after inoculation and 60 days of operation, the reactor treating 3.40 kg CODm−3 d−1 for θH of 2.69 h, reached mean removal efficiencies of 76% for BOD, 72% for COD, and 80% for TSS, when the effluent presented mean values of 225 mg.L−1 of COD, 98 mg.L−1 of BOD and 35 mg.L−1 of TSS. Under these conditions, for nitrogen loading of 0.27 kgN.m−3d−1, the reactor generated an effluent with mean N-org. of 8 mg.L−1 and N-ammon. of 37 mg.L−1, demonstrating high potential of ammonification. For the anaerobic–aerobic condition (118th day) the system was operated with θH of 5.38 h presented mean removal efficiencies of 84% for BOD, 79% for COD, 76% for TSS, and 30% for TKN. The reactor's operation time was less than two months, which was not long enough to reach nitrification. Regarding the obtained results, this research confirmed that this reactor is configured as a flexible and adequate alternative for the treatment of sewage, requiring relatively small area and only θH of 10 h that can be adjusted to the local circumstances.

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