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Anaerobic filters (AFs) and upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors are finding widescale acceptance for treating various types of wastewater. They are frequently used for medium to high strength wastewater (2,000 to 20,000 mg/L COD), but have fewer applications to low strength wastewater (< 1,000 mg/L COD). In order to understand the applicability of anaerobic treatment for low strength wastewater, such as domestic sewage, a literature review was performed and a dynamic mathematical model was developed. The review showed two main variations of anaerobic wastewater treatment techniques (AF and UASB) and a number of modifications of these two themes. Treatment must be performed at ambient temperatures, since there is too little energy production to heat the wastewater. A total of 143 references were found that documented anaerobic wastewater treatment, ranging in strength from 58 mg/L to 62,000 mg/L COD in 34 different countries. A Monod-type kinetic model, which predicts treatment efficiency and gas production, was developed to describe some of the literature observations. The results of the extensive literature review and model predictions suggest that anaerobic treatment is promising and economical for treating low strength wastewater, although production of a useful biogas fuel by-product is doubtful. This is contrary to experience in the United States where anaerobic wastewater treatment is seldom performed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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