In France, small goat's cheese dairies using traditional craft methods often have no profitable solution for dealing with the whey byproduct of their cheesemaking activity: it is usually mixed with the cleaning wastewater which, in the absence of other possibilities, is then discharged directly into the environment. The volume of such wastewater is small but it has a high COD of around 12-15 g/L. An aerobic SBR was proposed as a method for treating the mixture of wastewater and whey and the first installation was set up on a farm with 170 goats. Its operations were monitored for 7.5 months, particularly in order to measure any excess volume of sludge and to check that such excess remained within acceptable limits, given the high COD of the effluent requiring treatment. The results obtained show that the treated wastewater was of excellent quality, well within the most rigorous discharge norms. With this type of wastewater, excess sludge was produced in only very low amounts with 0.2 g of SS/g of COD. Moreover, the sludge proved to be quick settling which made it possible to: i) maintain a high level of SS in the reactor (up to 15 g/L); ii) withdraw sludge with concentrations reaching 30 g/L after 2 hours of settling. This resulted in a low volume of excess sludge (less than 5% of treated volume), making such aerobic biological treatment in an SBR competitive when compared to the straightforward spreading of all the wastewater.

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