This research was conducted to study the anaerobic sludge filtration capacity regarding helminth egg removal in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors. Two 25 L lab-scale UASB reactors were operated at an ambient temperature which varied between 17.1 and 28.6 °C. Ascaris suum
egg was selected as the model egg considering its similarity in terms of size and morphology to Ascaris lumbricoides
, a human pathogen. Ascaris suum
eggs were obtained from female parasites of infected pigs. The anaerobic sludge filtration capacity was performed applying upflow velocities between 0.09 and 0.68 m·h−1
. Three sludge bed heights in the range of 0.30–0.40 m, 0.50–0.60 m and 0.60–0.70 m were applied. These sludge bed heights corresponded to 19%–25%, 31%–38% and 38%–44% of the total reactor height, respectively. Under the mentioned conditions, the average helminth egg removal efficiency was reciprocally correlated to the imposed upflow velocity. The studied lab-scale reactors reported an average helminth egg removal between 34%–100%, 30%–91% and 34%–56%, when the sludge bed in the UASB reactor was 19%–25%, 31%–38% and 38%–44% of the total reactor height, respectively. The decreased filtration capacity at increasing sludge bed heights might be likely related to biogas production and channeling formation. The average helminth egg removal efficiency in the control experiments performed without any sludge bed, by plain sedimentation, varied between 44% and 66%.
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