The anaerobic treatment approach towards a more sustainable and robust environemnetal protection

G. Lettinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Anaerobic biological degradation processes (AnDe), when properly integrated with complementary biological and physical methods, constitute the ideal route to a sustainable protection of the life environment. However unfortunately for a smooth implementation of AnDe-processes drastic conceptual innovations are urgently needed in the field of environment protection; the present highly centralized approach in the public sanitation sector (CENSA) need to be substituted by a concept that focuses on optimal decentralization, problem prevention, self-sufficiency, resource recovery and reuse, with coupling to agriculture practices at or nearby the location (DESAR). Although a variety of excellent DESAR-based systems already are available and anaerobic digestion and treatment methods have found successful full-scale application for waste and wastewater treatment, there still is potential to improve these systems. Interesting questions to be elucidated are the effect of trace elements and macro-nutrients, the sludge immobilization phenomenon and the effect of environmental factors like temperature, pressure, mixing. Therefore tentatively a lot of challenging interdisciplinary research is waiting to attain further profitable innovations. Keywords Granular sludge-growth and manipulation; innovation; nutrients; paradigm; self-phasing; trace elements; valorization
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • waste water treatment
  • biological treatment
  • environmental protection
  • anaerobic treatment
  • digestion
  • granules
  • waste-water treatment
  • sludge bed reactor
  • removal
  • uasb


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