Statistical exposé of a multiple-Compartment anaerobic reactor treating domestic wastewater

Andrew R. Pfluger, Martha J. Hahn, Amanda S. Hering, Junko Munakata-Marr, Linda Figueroa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Mainstream anaerobic treatment of domestic wastewater is a promising energy-generating treatment strategy; however, such reactors operated in colder regions are not well characterized. Performance data from a pilot-scale, multiple-compartment anaerobic reactor taken over 786 days were subjected to comprehensive statistical analyses. Results suggest that chemical oxygen demand (COD) was a poor proxy for organics in anaerobic systems as oxygen demand from dissolved inorganic material, dissolved methane, and colloidal material influence dissolved and particulate COD measurements. Additionally, univariate and functional boxplots were useful in visualizing variability in contaminant concentrations and identifying statistical outliers. Further, significantly different dissolved organic removal and methane production was observed between operational years, suggesting that anaerobic reactor systems May not achieve steady-state performance within one year. Last, modeling multiple-compartment reactor systems will require data collected over at least two years to capture seasonal variations of the major anaerobic microbial functions occurring within each reactor compartment.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-542
Number of pages13
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-08
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRG2015-2582
Acknowledgements: Support for this study was provided in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) (Award No. EEC-1028968). Support for Amanda S. Hering was also provided by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology through CRG2015-2582. The authors are grateful to the Plum Creek Water Reclamation Authority for their generous support and analytical assistance.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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