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Biological phosphorus removal from dairy wastewater by alternating anaerobic and aerobic conditions

O Balamane-Zizi
H Aït-Amar


In this study, the possibility of applying the enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) process for Algiers dairy wastewater which can have phosphorus contents up to 130 mg/L was examined. EBPR is conventionally performed by an anaerobic-aerobic process. The objectives of this work were to determine an optimal hydraulic retention time (HRT) in aerobic conditions and to study the effect of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) (acetic and propionic acids) addition on the phosphorus release in anaerobic conditions. The tests were performed in a batch reactor operating with an aerobic/anaerobic sequence of phases. Batch tests have been carried out at 3 HRTs in aerobic conditions (1, 2 and 3 h) while the anaerobic retention time was fixed at 4 h, to examine the effect of stress related to changes of aerobic HRT. Main results show that the most favorable aerobic retention time was found to be 2 h. The amount of P released in anaerobic phase increases from 2.25 to 2.48 mgP/gVSS with increasing aerobic HRT from 1 to 2 h and decreases to 1.28 mgP/g VSS for a time of 3 h using acetic acid. Similarly, this amount increases from 1.62 to 4.38 mgP/gVSS for 1 to 2 h and decreases to 1.41 mgP/gVSS for a time of 3 h using propionic acid. The initial release rate was directly proportional to the amount of added substrate. Propionate may be a more effective carbon source for biological phosphorus removal than acetate. Based on the results presented herein, we can confirm the possibility of phosphorus removal from dairy wastewater in the aerobic-anaerobic biological process.

Keywords: Dairy wastewater, biological phosphorus removal, aerobic, anaerobic, release, acetic acid, propionic acid