The research investigated some factors influencing the rate of stabilisation of wastewater in the spring period in continental climate waste stabilisation ponds, and in particular the potential for bringing forward the discharge date by optimising storage capacity and dilution. Experiments using pilot and model-scale ponds were set up in Almaty, Kazakhstan. These simulated operating regimes for a facultative and storage/maturation pond system subject to ice cover from late November until late March. Two pilot-scale facultative ponds were operated at hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 20 and 30 days, with surface loading rates of 100 and 67 kg BOD ha−1 day−1. Effluent from the 20-day HRT facultative pond was then fed to two pilot-scale storage/maturation ponds which had been partially emptied and allowed to refill over the winter period with no removal of effluent. The paper discusses the results of the experiments with respect to selection of an operating regime to make treated wastewater available early in the spring. Preliminary results indicate that there may be potential for alternative operating protocols designed to maximise their performance and economic potential.

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