The objective of this work was to determine the ability of a pilot-scale hybrid system to treat real (non-synthetic) winery wastewater. The experimental treatment system consisted of two stages: An attached growth pilot-scale bioreactor (biological trickling filter with plastic support material) was initially used to remove a significant amount of dissolved chemical oxygen demand (d-COD) from winery wastewater, and then a pilot-scale, horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetland (CW) was examined as a post-treatment step for further d-COD removal. Results from the biofilter revealed that the recirculation rate of 1.0 L/min lead to higher d-COD removal rates than that of 0.5 L/min for all feed d-COD concentrations tested (3500, 7500, 9000 and 18,000 mg d-COD/L). Experiments in the CW were performed using feed d-COD concentrations of about 1500 mg/L (equivalent to biofilter effluent when initial filter feed d-COD concentrations are 18,000 mg/L). The wetland polishing stage managed to further remove d-COD and produced effluent concentrations below current legislation limits for safe disposal. Furthermore, the presence of zeolite in CW (one third of the length of CW) enhanced ammonium removal. The experimental results indicate that the combination of a biological trickling filter and a constructed wetland could effectively treat effluents originating from small wineries typical of the Mediterranean region.
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