Aerated lagooning of agro-industrial wastewater: depuration performance and energy requirements

  • Serafina Andiloro |
  • Giuseppe Bombino
  • Vincenzo Tamburino
  • Demetrio Antonio Zema
  • Santo Marcello Zimbone


Intensive depuration plants have often shown low reliability and economic sustainability, when utilised for agro-industrial wastewater treatment, due to the particular wastewater properties: high organic load and essential oil concentrations, acidity, nutrient scarcity and qualitative-quantitative variability of effluents. Aerated lagooning systems represent a suitable alternative, because they are able to assure good reliability and low energy requirements, avoiding the drawbacks shown by the intensive depuration plants. In order to optimize performance of the lagooning systems, particularly in terms of energy requirements, depuration processes of aerobic-anaerobic aerated lagoons were investigated, both at full- and laboratory-scale. Citrus processing wastewater were subject to bubble aeration with low flow rates and limited time; the removal rate of organic load was evaluated and energy requirements of different depuration schemes were compared. The experimental investigations in full-scale aerated lagoons showed a low energy supply (0.21-0.59 kWh per kg of COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) removed with an average value of 0.45 kWh kgCOD –1), an adequate equalisation capability and constantly good depurative performance also with high concentrations of essential oil (500-1000 ppm). The experimental investigations in lab-scale aerated tanks under controlled conditions indicated the possibility of decreasing energy requirements (down to 0.16 kWh kgCOD –1) by reducing aeration power (down to 0.6 W m–3) and limiting aeration time to night 12 hours only, when energy price is lower. In spite of the low aeration, the COD removal rates were on the average six-fold higher compared to the anaerobic tank. Other outcomes indicated an ability of the spontaneous microflora to adapt to high concentrations of essential oils, which however did not provide an increase of the removal rate of the organic load in the experimented scheme.


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aerated lagoon, agro-industrial wastewater, depuration, energy requirement, essential oil, Chemical Oxygen Demand.
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How to Cite
Andiloro, S., Bombino, G., Tamburino, V., Zema, D. A., & Zimbone, S. M. (2013). Aerated lagooning of agro-industrial wastewater: depuration performance and energy requirements. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 44(2s).

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