Effects of high-concentration influent suspended solids on aerobic granulation in pilot-scale sequencing batch reactors treating real domestic wastewater.Water Res 2018; 131:74-89WR
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of high-influent-concentration suspended solids (SS) on the cultivation, structure and long-term stability of aerobic granular sludge (AGS). Cultivation and long-term stability of AGS were monitored in two pilot-scale sequencing batch reactors fed with raw (R1) and settled (R2) domestic wastewater, representing high and medium SS content, respectively. The real domestic wastewater had high chemical oxygen demand (COD) content (1100 ± 270 mg COD L-1). Aerobic granular sludge was cultivated in 44 days (R1) and 25 days (R2) under the conditions of high settling velocity (18 m h-1) and high organic loading rate (OLR) (2.1-2.4 kg COD m3 day). The AGS in both reactors had similar structural properties during long-term operation and remained structurally and functionally stable during the last five months of operation. Comparative evaluation of the results indicated that the high influent SS content of the real domestic wastewater had a positive influence on maintaining significantly lower SVI30 and relatively lower effluent SS concentration. Moreover, a higher influent SS content resulted in smaller mature granules during the stable period. Microbial community analyses helped to understand the aerobic granular sludge structure and showed that the sludge retention time and OLR affected the granular sludge population. The high influent SS increased biomass detachment from the granular sludge surface and caused wash-out of some bacteria colonizing the exterior of the granular sludge.