A combined anaerobic anoxic aerobic reactor for the treatment of the industrial wastewater that contains nitrogen and complex organic compounds as well as its design procedure is presented.

The purpose of our experiments was to find a simple methodology that would provide combined reactor design. The reactor is based on the combination of anaerobic, anoxic and aerobic process in one unit only. It was found that the HRT even under 1 hour in the anaerobic zone is long enough for the efficient transformation of complex organic compounds into readily biodegradable COD which is then used in dentrification process. In the N-NO3 concentration range 1.5-50 mg/l the denitrification rate could be expressed as half-order reaction when the CODrb was in excess. N-NO3 removal efficiency is controlled by the recycle flow from the aerobic to the anoxic zone. Nitrification rate can be expressed as first, half or zero-order reaction with respect to effluent N-NH4 concentration. Nitrification rate depends on the dissolved oxygen concentration and hydrodynamic conditions in the reactor.

Case study for design of a pilot plant of the combined reactor for treatment of pre-treated pharmaceutical wastewater is shown. Characteristics of pre-treated wastewater were: COD=200 mg/l, BOD5=20 mg/l, N-Kjeldahl=80 mg/l, N-NH4=70 mg/l, N-NOx<1 mg/l, P-PO4=5 mg/l. Legal requirements for treated wastewater were: COD=<100 mg/l, BOD5<5 mg/l, N-NH4=<1 mg/l, N-NOx=<10 mg/l.

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