Studies on laboratory-scale submerged aerobic fixed film reactor (SAFF) packed with synthetic media having specific surface area of 165 m2/m3 with a void volume of 89% were carried out to assess its performance under various organic loading rates (OLR) and hydraulic retention times (HRT). Synthetic wastewater having chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of 400 ± 10% and 210 ± 10% mg/L respectively was fed and the reactor was subjected to OLRs ranging from 0.37 to 1.26 kg COD/m3.d. It was observed that steady sloughing of biofilm occurs within the SAFF reactor all the times and average concentration of sloughed biomass in the effluent was 26 mg/L. The COD and BOD removal efficiencies varied between 85 and 89% and 86 to 94%, respectively. The kinetic studies demonstrated that SAFF reactor followed Stover–Kincannon and Grau models, with high correlation coefficients (R2) of 0.9977 and 0.9916, respectively. Thus, the values of kinetic coefficients such as maximum substrate utilization rate, Umax = 64.1 g/(L.d); saturation value constant, KB = 72.31 g/(L.d) and Grau second-order substrate removal rate constant, Ks = 2.44 day−1 can be useful to develop and design large scale SAFF reactors. Finally, the study reveals that the optimum range for OLR can vary within 0.68–0.94 kg COD/m3.d.

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