The main objective of this research was to determine the feasibility to treat the azo dye direct blue 2 together with municipal wastewater in a biological aerated filter (BAF) using lava stones as support of the microorganisms and under combined anaerobic/aerobic conditions. A 3 m high pilot biological aerated filter was fed with municipal wastewater and, after several weeks, the azo dye direct blue 2 was added to the wastewater to reach a final concentration of 50 mg/L (34 mgCOD/L). Under continuous operation, two strategies were tested: Alternating aeration (12 h anaerobic and 12 h aerobic) and combined aeration (the lower part of the filter anaerobic and the upper part aerobic). The results indicate that municipal wastewater acted as a good electron donor resulting in satisfactory COD and dye removal rates. Better dye removal (61%) was obtained with combined aeration than with alternating aeration (45%). After beginning the azo dye addition, the COD removal rates decreased from 87 to 81% for both alternating and combined aeration procedures. The average ammonia nitrogen removal, without the addition of the dye, was 73% and increased to 90% shortly after beginning the dye addition, then it decreased to 81% during the combined aeration period. Excellent nitrification was observed in the upper aerobic part of the filter. For the combined aeration phase, the conditions change from anaerobic to aerobic does not seem to affect the behavior of the COD and TSS curves.

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