Anaerobic ponds are usually used for treatment of industrial and agricultural wastes which contain high organic matter and sulphate. Competition for substrate between sulphate reducing bacteria and methane producing archaea, and the inhibitory effects of sulphide produced from microbial sulphate reduction reported in the literature varied considerably. In this research, a laboratory scale column-in-series anaerobic pond reactor, consisting of five cylindrical columns of acrylic tubes, was operated to evaluate the effect of COD and sulphate ratio on pond performance treating wastewater containing high organic matter and sulphate from a tapioca starch industry. The result depicted that no adverse effect of COD:SO4 ratios between 5 and 20 on overall COD removal performance of anaerobic pond operated with organic loading rate (OLR) of 150 to 600 g COD/m3d. Sulphate reducing bacteria could out-compete methane producing archaea for the same substrate at COD:SO4 ratio equal to or lower than 5 and OLR greater than 300 g COD/m3d. Sulphide inhibition was not observed on overall performance of pond up to an influent sulphate concentration of 650 mg/L.

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