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Aerobic Granular Sludge for Leachate Treatment


The treatment of municipal landfill leachate by means of aerobic granular sequencing batch reactors (GSBRs) was investigated. The paper reports the results from an experimental campaign lasted 100 days, which has been divided into three periods: cultivation of granular sludge (70 days), operation with semi-fresh (15 day) and diluted landfill leachate (15 day). Two different GSBR configurations were used: a Sequencing Batch Bubble Column reactor and a Sequencing Batch Airlift Reactor. All reactors were operated at Volume Loading Rates (VLRs) between 4.8 and 7.2 g COD /(m 3 ·d). The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal efficiency varied between 80% and 90% under operation with synthetic wastewater feeding. On the other hand, the COD removal performance decreased to 40-50 % with semi-fresh leachate and to 50-60% with diluted leachate. Regarding nitrogen removal, after granules formation, the performance were satisfactory only when the reactors were fed with synthetic wastewater. Contrarily, the obtained results underline that a specific pre-treatment of ammonium must be applied in order to optimize nitrogen removal. However, the observed results indicate that the landfill leachate can be potentially treated in GSBR bioreactors.