WIT Press

An Assessment of Using Anaerobic Baffled Reactor to Upgrade Wastewater Stabilization Ponds: A Pilot Study


Free (open access)


Volume 9 (2014), Issue 4



Page Range

597 - 607

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Operating wastewater treatment facilities is a challenge in developing countries. A research to find more sustainable alternatives is required with emphasize on modification, upgrade and optimization of these systems. Accordingly, a case study over a wastewater stabilization pond (WSP) of Hoveizeh, Iran, is carried out. It is realized that the facultative ponds have been encountered high purple sulfur bacteria (PSBs) bloom as a consequence of high organic loads. In fact, the overall efficiency of 70% in soluble COD removal is barely achieved in the system. This is recognized that volatile fatty acids (VFAs) have been motivated to be accumulated to more than 190 mg/L within the anaerobic ponds by high organic load. Hence, the ratio of VFAs to alkalinity is exceeded 0.6 and H2S concentration is increased in the facultative pond. It is observed that the influent COD is correlated logarithmically to the H2S concentration (R2 = 0.9) and the latter itself is correlated in third order to the chlorophyll A (R2 = 0.92) representing PSBs growth. Since this phenomenon is attributed to the accumulation of VFAs, it is recommended to use anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR) as a modification to control the process. For this purpose, a bench-scale ABR with 48 l volume and six compartments were fed with domestic wastewater and operated for 7 months in three hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 36, 24 and 18 hours. It is observed that the efficiency of soluble COD removal in the anaerobic part can be promoted from 45% to 70% by ABR with 24-h retention time while the effluent of COD and VFAs are limited to 170 and 70 mg/L, respectively. Besides, the overall efficiency of ABR has not been changed significantly in a range of 36–18 h HRT. Consequently, it is found that ABR as an efficient, economical and environmentally sound option can be considered as a sustainable alternative to upgrade WSPs operationally.


Anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR), purple sulfur bacteria, stabilization pond, upgrade, wastewater treatment.