A bench-scale SBR was operated for almost three years in an attempt to optimise the treatment of leachates generated in old landfill. The results of the first two years were used to design a monitoring and control system based on artificial intelligence concepts. Nitrogen removal was optimized via the nitrite shortcut. Nitrification and N removal were usually higher than 98% and 90%, respectively, whereas COD (of the leachate) removal was approximately 30–40%. The monitoring and control system was demonstrated capable of optimizing process operation, in terms of phase length and external COD addition, to the varying loading conditions. Using the control system developed, a significant improvement of the process was obtained: COD and N load were increased (HRT decrease) and a significant decrease (approximately 34%) of the ratio of COD added to N leachate content was observed.

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