In this study, a submerged aerated filter (SAF) using bottle caps as a support medium was evaluated. The system was fed with effluent from an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket system at ETE 2-South wastewater treatment plant, under different volumetric organic load rates (VOLRs). The population of a particular nitrifying microbial community was assessed by fluorescent in situ hybridization with specific oligonucleotide probes. The system showed an average removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) equal to 76% for VOLRs between 2.6 and 13.6 kg COD m−−1. The process of nitrification in conjunction with the removal of organic matter was observed from applying VOLRs lower than 5.5 kg COD m−−1 resulting in 78% conversion of NH4+-N. As the applied organic load was reduced, an increase in the nitrifying bacteria population was observed compared with total 4′-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) stained cells. Generally, SAF using bottle caps as a biological aerated filter medium treating wastewater from an anaerobic system showed promising removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and conversion of NH4+-N.

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