The aim of this research was to investigate the feasibility of treating liquid dairy wastes by a vertical bed equipped with an innovative passive aeration system. The vertical bed (32 liter) was operated by recirculating consecutive batches of liquid waste in the column. Batches of liquid waste were applied at two different rates: 1) each batch was recirculated for 72 hours, and 2) each batch was recirculated for 24 hours. Settled liquid dairy wastes (5000 mg 1-1 COD, 2000 mg 1-1 BOD and 2500 mg 1-1 TSS) were used in the experiments. When the reactor operated with each batch recirculating for 72 hours, the BOD and COD reduction were 66% and 40%, respectively. The vertical bed operated successfully without the need for an additional rest period. The main removal was observed to take place during the first 20 hours. No biomass or solids accumulation was observed indicating that the remaining 52 hours of recirculation were actually used for bed regeneration, i.e. integrated rest period. When the reactor operated with each batch recirculating for 24 hours, the system clogged after 21 days. An additional 24 day rest period was needed in order to free 94% of the initial void space. In this mode, the BOD and COD reduction were 67% and 47%, respectively. The overall COD removal in a complete operational cycle (feeding period followed by a rest period) was 467 g COD m-3 d-1 (996 g COD m-2 d-1). This value is 1.4 higher than the COD removal obtained in the 72 hour per batch mode and shows the advantage of conventional vertical bed operation of intensive feeding followed by rest period rather than a rest period integrated into the feeding cycle.
- Liquid dairy manure treatment
- Passive aeration
- Vertical bed