The effect of organic loading rate (OLR) provided by hydraulic retention time (HRT) and influent chemical oxygen demand (CODin) on the performance of an up-flow anaerobic sludge fixed film (UASFF) bioreactor treating palm oil mill effluent (POME) was studied. Anaerobic digestion of POME was modeled and analyzed with two variables i.e. HRT and CODin. Experiments were conducted based on a general factorial design and analyzed using response surface methodology (RSM). The region of exploration for digestion of POME was taken as the area enclosed by HRT (1 to 6 days) and CODin (5260 to 34725 mg/L) boundaries. A simultaneous increase of the variables determined a decrease of COD removal efficiency, SRT and SRF and an increase of COD removal rate, VFA/Alk., CO2 fraction in biogas, methane production rate. The best COD removal rate for POME treatment in an anaerobic hybrid reactor has obtained at an OLR of 17.6 g COD/l.d while it was at 26.21 g COD/l.d (Corresponds to CODin of 26210 mg COD/l and HRT of 1 day) in the present study. Minimum and maximum SRT values obtained were 16 and 1904 days at OLR of 34.73 and 0.88 g COD/l.d, respectively. The present study provides valuable information about interrelations of quality and process parameters at different values
of the operating variables.