Journal of Environmental Management, vol.325, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022 Elsevier LtdAchieving a neutral/positive energy balance without compromising discharge standards is one of the main goals of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in terms of sustainability. Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) technology promises high treatment performance with low energy and footprint requirement. In this study, high-rate activated sludge (HRAS) process was coupled to AGS process as an energy-efficient pre-treatment option in order to increase energy recovery from municipal wastewater and decrease the particulate matter load of AGS process. Three different feeding strategies were applied throughout the study. AGS system was fed with raw municipal wastewater, with the effluent of HRAS process, and with the mixture of the effluent of HRAS process and raw municipal wastewater at Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3, respectively. Total suspended solids (TSS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammonia nitrogen (NH4+-N), and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in the effluent were less than 10 mg/L, 60 mg/L, 0.4 mg/L, and 1.3 mg/L respectively at all stages. Fluctuations were observed in the denitrification performance due to changes in the influent COD/total nitrogen (TN) ratio. This study showed that coupling HRAS process with AGS process by feeding the AGS process with the mixture of HRAS process effluent and raw municipal wastewater could be an appropriate option for both increasing the energy recovery potential of WWTPs and enabling high effluent quality.