This paper presents an evaluation of the process performance of a pilot-scale "fourth generation" downflow hanging sponge (DHS) post-treatment system combined with a UASB pretreatment unit treating municipal wastewater. After the successful operation of the second- and third-generation DHS reactors, the fourth-generation DHS reactor was developed to overcome a few shortcomings of its predecessors. This reactor was designed to further enhance the treatment efficiency and simplify the construction process in real scale, especially for the application in developing countries. Configuration of the reactor was modified to enhance the dissolution of air into the wastewater and to avert the possible clogging of the reactor especially during sudden washout from the UASB reactor. The whole system was operated at a total hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 8 h (UASB: 6 h and DHS: 2 h) for a period of over 600 days. The combined system was able to remove 96% of unfiltered BOD with only 9 mg/L remaining in the final effluent. Likewise, F. coli were removed by 3.45 log with the final count of 103 to 104 MPN /100 ml. Nutrient removal by the system was also satisfactory.
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