Characteristics of Granular Sludge in an EGSB Reactor for Treating low Strength Wastewater



A lab-scale expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactor was operated at 20°C with low strength wastewater (0.6-0.8 g COD/L) for over 200 days. Reactor was inoculated with mesophilic granular sludge. The up-flow velocity was set to 5 m/h by effluent recirculation. The COD loading was increased up to 12 kg COD/m3/day until the day 76, resulting in hydraulic retention time of 1.5 hours. Physical properties (settleability and diameter) of retained sludge tended to deteriorate during the first 2-3 months, however sludge settleability kept sufficiently in the later part of experiment due to the reconstruction of granular sludge. The growth yield (Yg) of retained sludge (0.13 g VSS/g COD) was about two times higher than mesophilic and thermophilic granular sludge processes while the endogenous decay constant (Kd) is very low (0.0001/day) as compared with those processes. The sludge retention time of retained sludge reduced from 100 days to 40 days by the reduction of hydraulic retention time from 4 hours to 1.5 hours. Maintenance of 40 days of sludge retention time caused the stable retainment of biomass and the significant increase of methanogenic activity of the retained sludge.