Treatment of domestic sewage in a combined UASB/RBC system. Process optimization for irrigation purposes

A. Tawfik Ibrahim, G. Zeeman, A. Klapwijk, W.T.M. Sanders, F. El-Gohary, G. Lettinga

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24 Citations (Scopus)


A Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC) was fed with raw domestic wastewater or anaerobic effluents. The experiments were conducted at increasing operational temperatures viz. 11, 20 and 30degreesC to assess the potential increase in removal efficiencies for the different COD fractions (CODtotal, CODsuspended, CODcolloidal and CODsoluble), E. coli and in the nitrification rate. The results clearly show that, the RBC at HRT of 2.5 h and OLR of 47 gCOD/m(2).d provided a very high residual CODtotal value of 228 mg/l when treating domestic wastewater. This was not the case as compared to the results obtained for the system when operated at the same HRT but at lower OLR's of 27, 20 and 14.5 g COD/m(2).d with a UASB effluent at operational temperatures of 11, 20 and 30degreesC respectively. The residual CODtotal values amounted to 100, 85 and 72 mg/l in the final effluents. Moreover, a high removal of ammonia and low residual values of E. coli was found for the RBC when treating a UASB effluent at operational temperature of 30degreesC as compared to the situation for treatment of domestic wastewater and UASB effluent at lower temperatures of 11 and 20degreesC. It can be concluded that an efficient pre-treatment of sewage implies a substantial reduction of OLR applied to the RBC and consequently improves the residual of CODtotal, ammonia and E. coli in the final effluent. Therefore, this study supports using a combined system UASB/RBC for treatment of domestic wastewater for reuse in irrigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • waste-water
  • wastewaters
  • contactor


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