Aerobic treatment commonly applied to textile wastewater results in good or even excellent removal of organic load. This is not, however, accompanied by an equally good removal of colour. Traditional or advanced chemical methods of decolourisation are costly and not always reliable in justifying an interest in microbial decolourisation. Among several processes anaerobic methods seem most promising. In this paper, the results of a study conducted in two pilot-scale plants comprising anaerobic fixed bed biofilters of 15 L and 5 m3 operating as continuous reactors are presented, along with evaluation of the microbial kinetics. As is shown the process proved efficient in a long-term study with no stability problems of the biofilters. The six-month performance of the pilot plant confirmed also that the pre-treated wastewater could be applied in the operation of dyeing. For the majority of the colours applied in the factory no problems were encountered when the dyeing baths were prepared by substituting 30% of fresh water to the effluent treated by a sequence of activated sludge processes: anaerobic-aerobic.

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