The sludge from six SBRs treating dairy effluent and located at same geographical location, in North East of France, were collected to study their characteristic behavior. The six plants were designed and constructed by the same manufacturer and are working under quite similar operating conditions. The objective of the study was to observe if any similarity existed in the characteristics of the sludge collected from the SBRs. The sludge was characterized for morphological properties (filament index, floc size), settling, compressibility, suspended solids (SS) concentration. The sludge from each plant was different from the others in most of the characteristics. One sludge out of six (sludge G) was completely different from the others with a very degraded structure and low discrete settling and compression. This reactor was not working fully satisfactorily with a too high COD at outlet, probably because this SBR was undergoing repetitive overloading linked to a very bad recovery of the whey by the cheese maker. The five other SBRs were working fully satisfactorily but the characteristics of the five sludges were quite different from one sludge to another. The size of the flocs seemed to be the only parameter measured which could be correlated to the settling characteristics of the sludge. The sludge characteristics and the parameter correlations were also compared with that of municipal activated sludge and were found to be very different.

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