An evaluation of the efficiency of bacterial biomass augmentation was performed at lab-scale for the pollution treatment of the Derby-Tacaruna canal. The canal is located at the central area of Great Recife, alongside an important urban corridor. The characterization of the canal water in different tidal conditions showed that the actual pollution is organic and inorganic (heavy metals). Degradation experiments of water from the canal and rain-off system polluted by synthetic wastewater were performed, using activated sludge and an industrial bioadditive. Continuous reactors under two different conditions were evaluated: with diffuse aeration and without aeration. The channel reactor was operated under steady state conditions at a flow rate of 2.5 L h−1 and with an average residence time of 22 h without aeration and 17 h with aeration. The organic matter removal was in the range of 60% for the system inoculated with the bioadditive and 85% with activated sludge. It was concluded that the water of the Derby-Tacaruna canal may be treated by activated sludge without being affected by its salt content, while the bioaugmentation technique was not satisfactory due to inhibition by inorganics.

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