The paper presents the comparison between the traditional activated sludge system (AS) and a hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor (HMBBR). In particular, an experimental campaign has been carried out at the WWTP in Palermo (Italy), on a pilot plant consisting of two pre-anoxic schemes. The aerated tank of the HMBBR line was filled with suspended carriers (AnoxKaldnes™ K1), with a 30% filling ratio. The hydraulic load of the HMBBR line was increased up to two times the AS one. Further, in order to distinguish the additional contribution of the attached biomass for the HMBBR system, in the two lines the Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids (MLSS) was maintained as equal as possible. The monitoring period lasted three months during which several parameters were monitored. The obtained results showed a good treatment ability of the HMBBR system, referring to the organic matter removal as well as to the ammonium removal. In particular, in spite of the increase of the hydraulic load for the HMBBR line, the two systems showed a similar performance in terms of both organic and nitrogen removal. The results demonstrate the higher treatment capacity of the HMBBR addressing such system as an effective technology for the upgrading of overloaded wastewater treatment plants.

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