The possibility of enhancing the process performance of the UASB-septic tank for treating strong sewage in Palestine by means of inoculating the reactor with well adapted anaerobic sludge and/or adding a packing media to the upper part of the reactor, creating an anaerobic hybrid (AH)-septic tank, was investigated. To achieve these objectives, two community onsite UASB-septic tank and AH-septic tank were operated in parallel at 2 days HRT for around 8 months overlapping the cold and hot periods of the year in Palestine. The achieved removal efficiencies of CODtot in the UASB-septic tank and AH-septic tank during the first months of operation, coinciding with the cold period and the subsequent hot period, were respectively 50(±15)% and 48(±15)% and 66(±8)% and 55(±8)%. This shows that the UASB-septic tank performed significantly better (p < 0.05) than the AH-septic tank after rather long periods of operation. The difference in the CODtot removal efficiency was mainly due to the better CODss removal efficiencies in the UASB-septic tank. The removal efficiencies over the last 50 days of operation for CODtot, CODsus, CODcol and CODdis were 70, 72, 77 and 55% and 53, 54, 78 and 45% for the UASB-septic tank and AH-septic tank, respectively. Comparing the here achieved COD removal efficiencies with previously reported efficiencies of UASB-septic tanks operated in Palestine shows that the reactor performance in terms of COD removal and conversion, during the first 8 months of operation, has improved substantially by being started with well adapted anaerobic sludge, simulating and predicting long-term performance. Adding packing media did not lead to an improvement.

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