Herbal pharmaceutical industry has grown tremendously in the last few decades. As such, literature on the treatment of this wastewater is scarce. Water pollution control problems in the developing countries need to be solved through application of cost effective aerobic/anaerobic biological systems. One such system—the upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) process which is known to be cost effective and where by-product recovery was also feasible was applied for treatment of a high strength wastewater for a period of six months in a pilot scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor with a capacity of 27.44 m3. Studies were carried out at various organic loading rates varying between 6.26 and 10.33 kg COD/m3/day and hydraulic retention time (HRT) fluctuating between 33 and 43 hours. This resulted in chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids (SS) removal in the range of 86.2%–91.6%, 90.0%–95.2% and 62.6%–68.0% respectively. The biogas production varied between 0.32–0.47 m3/kg COD added. Sludge from different heights of UASB reactor was collected and subjected to scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results indicated good granulation with efficient UASB reactor performance.

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