Performance of the sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treating synthetic phenolic wastewater at influent phenol concentrations from 100 to 1000 mg/L was evaluated. Two identical SBRs were built and operated with FILL, REACT, SETTLE and DRAW periods in the ratio of 4:6:1:1 for a cycle time of 12h. One of the reactors was operated with aerated FILL (R1) and the other with unaerated FILL (R2). The treated effluent quality and the rate of degradation during REACT were the criteria for evaluating performance of the two reactors. The results showed that the FILL mode had no significant influence on the treatment efficiency of phenol and COD for the entire range of influent phenol concentrations investigated. However, reactor R1 required a relatively shorter REACT time for phenol removal as compared to R2. This meant that R1 had the advantage of providing treatment at a higher organic loading rate.
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