Start-up of a UASB effluent treatment plant on distillery wastewater

  • Bileen Wolmarans
  • Gideon H. De Villiers


Distillery effluent is a contaminated stream with COD values of up to 30 000 mg/l and low pH values of between 3 and 4. The anaerobic biological treatment of distillery effluents is widely applied as an effective step in removing more than 90% of the COD in the effluent stream. This paper reports on the seasonal operation of a UASB treatment plant treating a distillery wastewater stream with particular focus on seasonal start-up conditions after the first process commissioning. The start-up period was typically one week before process stability could be achieved. It is recommended that the loading rate to the plant be controlled between 4 and 8 kg COD/m3·d until the process is stable and COD removal efficiencies remain, on average, higher than 90%. After the start-up period the loading rate applied (4 to 18 kg COD/m3d) did not significantly affect the COD removal efficiency of the plant. High removal efficiencies of higher than 90% were achieved and stop-start operation of the UASB process posed no problem for treatment.

WaterSA Vol.28(1) 2002: 63-68

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eISSN: 0378-4738