Anaerobic mesophilic treatment of synthetic (a mixture of acetate and methanol) and thermomechanical pulping (TMP) wastewater was studied in laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors and filters with emphasis on the process start-up. The reactors were inoculated with nongranular sludge. The start-up of mesophilic and thermophilic processes inoculated with mesophilic granular sludge was investigated in UASB reactors fed with diluted vinasse. The start-up proceeded faster in the filters than in the UASB reactors with TMP and synthetic wastewater. Loading rates of over 15 kgCODm−3d−1 with 50-60 % COD removal efficiencies were achieved in 10 days in the mesophilic and in 50 days in the thermophilic UASB reactor treating vinasse. The results show that high-rate anaerobic treatment can be applied to different types of industrial wastewaters under varying conditions.

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