The effluents of French small farm factories will soon be submitted to regulation. Only a few treatment techniques are available to deal with these kind of effluent (high concentration and small daily volumes). To allow the treatment, in the particular economic context of small food processing industries, Cemagref is trying to adapt a treatment based on attached growth cultures on fine media, a system known to be easy to operate and relatively inexpensive. A model, based on four sub-models (hydrodynamic characteristics, oxygen transport, solute transport in the mobile and immobile phases and bacterial evolution) describes this process. Based on wastewater concentration, hydraulic load, applied organic loads, feeding / rest cycles and recycling phases number, this model predicts:

  • eliminated organic loads and the discharge concentration as a function of time,

  • oxygen and biomass contents as a function of time and depth.

The determination of the model's parameters is based on a comparison between simulations and performances achieved on experimental columns. This model would be helpful in sizing full-scale filters treating different types of agro-food wastewater. The aim of this article is to present the model's structure, to give all parameter values and to compare the simulations with the results obtained on pilot and full scale plants.

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