Anaerobic treatment of domestic wastewater in temperate climates: treatment plant modelling and costing

P. D. Zakkour, Mark Gaterell, P. Griffin, R. J. Gochin, J. N. Lester

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Although research suggests that anaerobic treatment of low-strength domestic wastewater is possible in temperate climates, to date, full-scale applications have only been pioneered in hot regions. However, burgeoning environmental legislation in developed countries is giving the impetus to develop anaerobic wastewater treatment systems due to potential economic and environmental benefits they hold over traditional aerobic techniques. In this paper a design rationale for low-temperature, low-strength (COD < 1,000 mgl(-1)), two-phase anaerobic wastewater treatment is developed through empirical modelling of data from published research, and from assumptions arising from a literature review. Model calculations are applied to typical domestic sewage characteristics at two different flow rates, based on population equivalents. Results indicate that soluble COD production in the model hydrolytic tank are similar to those achieved in pilot scale plants in the Netherlands. Model anaerobic reactor sludge characteristics are similar to those achieved in pilot and full-scale anaerobic reactors treating low-strength wastewaters. Indicative cost figures for a two-phase anaerobic treatment plant are given, but are incomplete without an assessment of the cost of post-treatment processes. Anaerobic treatment is likely to become more attractive in the future as new legislation relating to sludge disposal and renewable energy generation are introduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4137-4149
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001


  • anaerobic treatment
  • domestic wastewater
  • low temperature
  • modelling
  • biogas
  • sludge
  • economics


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