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This paper presents a test case for the effects of recirculation on stabilization pond performance. The BOD5, COD, SS and Total Coliform removal at the intermediate treatment stages and the outlet of a stabilization pond treatment line, over a 2-year operational period (January 2000–December 2001), is described in detail and the effluent at different stages of treatment is compared to that of a conventional stabilization pond treatment line operating under similar conditions.The system consisted of four ponds in line—an anaerobic pond, followed by three individual ponds (Pond 1, Pond 2 and Pond 3). The effluent of the last pond (Pond 3) was recirculated back to the inlet of the first pond (Pond 1) at a discharge ratio 2:1 (recirculation:inflow). The overall BOD5, COD, SS and Total Coliforms total reduction was 89%, 81%, 85% and 99.7%, respectively. The anaerobic pond proved to be the most efficient in removing COD and SS (57% and 68%, respectively) whereas Pond 1 achieved the most significant reduction in BOD5 and Total Coliforms (69% and 86%, respectively). Although BOD5 and COD were adequately reduced by the recirculating pond line, the SS concentration was high due to algae presence in the final effluent. Moreover, the Total Coliforms were insufficiently removed due to the reduced hydraulic retention time involved in this type of recirculation.

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