The paper reports the results of an investigation carried out at lab scale to assess the effectiveness of an innovative technology (SUPERBIO) for treating municipal and/or industrial wastewater. When this technology was applied for treating municipal wastewater, the results showed that even at maximum organic load (i.e. 7 kg COD m−3 d−1), the COD in the treated effluent was lower than 50 mg L−1. In addition, both ammonia and TKN removal efficiencies resulted in higher than 87% up to an organic load of 5.7 kg COD m−3 d−1 corresponding to a nitrogen load of 0.8 kg TKN m−3 d−1.
Very satisfactory process performances also resulted during tannery wastewater treatment, when a chemical oxidation step (i.e. ozonation) was inserted in the treatment cycle of SUPERBIO. In such an instance, at organic and nitrogen loadings of 3 kgCOD m−3 d−1and 0.20 kg N m−3 d−1, COD, NH+4‐N and TSS average removals were 96, 99 and 98%, respectively. Finally, during the whole experimentation, SUPERBIO was always characterised by a very low sludge production. Such a result was ascribed mainly to the characteristics of biomass that grew in the form of very dense granules (i.e. 130 gVSS LBiomass−1) allowing a biomass concentration as high as 50–60 gTSS lbed−1 to be achieved.