The present study evaluates effectiveness of up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor followed by two post-anaerobic treatment options, namely free-surface, up-flow constructed wetland (FUP-CW) and oxygen-limited anaerobic nitrification/denitrification (OLAND) processes in treating sewage from the peri-urban areas in India receiving illegal industrial infiltrations. The UASB studies yielded robust results towards fluctuating strength of sewage and consistently removed 87–98% chemical oxygen demand (COD) at a hydraulic retention time of 1.5–2 d. The FUP-CW removed 68.5 ± 13% COD, 68 ± 3% NH4+-N, 38 ± 5% PO43−-P, 97.6 ± 5% suspended particles and 97 ± 13% fecal coliforms. Nutrient removal was found to be limiting in FUP-CW, especially in winter. Nitrogen removal in the OLAND process were 100 times higher than the FUP-CW process. Results show that UASB followed by FUP-CW can be an excellent, decentralized sewage treatment option, except during winter when nutrient removal is limited in FUP-CW. Hence, the study proposes bio-augmentation of FUP-CW with OLAND biomass for overall improvement in the performance of UASB followed by FUP-CW process.

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