There are several types of biological treatment for wastewater at 1h2o3. We will explain them to you one by one below.

Activated sludge

What is it used for?

Activated sludge technology is a process for treating wastewater and industrial wastewater. This technology was developed at the beginning of the last century and remains effective today.

The designs are different from other types of biological treatment, but the model often remains the same:

  • We can find an activation tank which acts as a biological reactor;
  • A settling tank will allow the separation of solids, activated sludge and treated wastewater;
  • Activated wastewater return equipment to transfer activated sludge to the aeration tank inlet

Operation process

The process of using activated sludge is quite simple. Atmospheric air is introduced into the wastewater mixture. This wastewater contains organisms capable of producing a biological floc. These flocs are future activated sludge.

The effectiveness of the removal process depends on several factors:

  • The hydraulic residence time in the aeration tank. It is calculated by dividing the volume of the aeration tank by the flow rate.
  • Influencer’s charge. Namely, its characteristics, such as its COD, nitrogen concentration, carbon content, etc
  • Aeration tank conditions (food/microorganism ratio)
  • Ventilation conditions
  • Temperature, etc…

After treatment, the floc settles at the bottom of the settling tank.
Purified water can undergo further treatment or be returned to nature if it meets standards.

The settled suspended solids (SSS) are returned to the beginning of the aeration tank for a new treatment cycle. However, due to biological growth, an excess forms, known as residual activated sludge. This surplus can disrupt the relationship between biomass and nutrients. To prevent this, the excess is removed before reintroducing the suspended solids into the cycle. This step ensures optimal water purification.

The residual activated sludge is stored in separate tanks. There, they undergo treatment, either aerobic or anaerobic, before being disposed of properly.

There are various facilities that employ activated sludge technology, each with its own specific techniques.


Before reaching the membrane, a sieve removes sand and grease to prevent blockages. Only particles smaller than 3 mm are allowed to pass. We also accept manual screenings. To achieve the breakdown of impurities. MBBR only uses bacteria.

The MBBR technology relies on particles that host colonies of bacteria. These bacteria form a biofilm on these mobile particles, playing a key role in water purification.

At the end of this process, the water is cleaned, but sludge remains and needs to be treated. For this purpose, a bio-reactor with lamellae technology is used for settling. The MBBR is durable with less expensive parts, providing a cost-effective alternative to the MBR.


The IFAS, an emerging technology, enhances treatment by adding a growth media in an activated sludge tank. This method boosts biomass and can modernize existing facilities without major construction.

The strength of IFAS is that it is the refinement of the advanced sludge method. It can therefore be easily integrated into existing installations.

In addition, adding a crib that can be either fixed or mobile provides many advantages:

  • This setup provides two different biological populations that act in synergy.
  • The mixed liquor, rich in active agents, eliminates the majority of the waste. And the biofilm with its nitrifying bacteria takes care of the nitrogen.
  • The biofilm processes merge anaerobic, aerobic, and anoxic zones into a single step. With IFAS systems, the additional biomass attaches to a stable surface. This eliminates the need to waste activated sludge and avoids unnecessarily increasing suspended populations.
  • Choosing the IFAS system is more economical than traditional activated sludge installations. Fixed-bed systems, such as IFAS, often require less space than traditional methods. By integrating IFAS into your current system, you boost its efficiency without the costs of expansion.

IFAS Technology

IFAS, or “Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge,” is a recent innovation for wastewater treatment. While inspired by traditional activated sludge methods, it is more effective. The main distinction between IFAS and MBBR lies in how the activated sludge is reused. This technology provides a modern and advantageous approach to water purification.

IFAS is a technology adapted to existing activated sludge installations in biological treatment. It has the advantage of using more compact tanks. These tanks are specially designed to accommodate media, whether dispersed or fixed. If you opt for dispersed media, consider adding additional screens for better efficiency.

This IFAS technology has many advantages over existing technologies. However, before installing an IFAS system in an existing station, it is important to make a few observations:

  • Check the aeration capacity of your system. Your system must withstand the increased oxygen demand with the new biomass when transitioning to IFAS.
  • Carefully plan the introduction of the media. Ensure that the basins are suitable to accommodate the type of media you have chosen.


The MBR, or Membrane Bioreactor, is a delicate technology compared to other biological treatment methods.

The upstream sludge buffer allows this system to:

  • producing less sludge and thus avoiding the need to treat them.
  • also resulting in a high space-saving.

The MBR system, more efficient than FBBR or MBBR, can lead to high maintenance costs. This system has bacteria on a membrane, with a concentration five times higher than other methods.

With tailored pores, the membrane filters and removes microorganisms from the water.

To achieve these results, negative pressure is essential to circulate the wastewater. This process consumes a significant amount of energy, increasing costs.

Additionally, the membrane must be regularly replaced and cleaned. All these operations require a qualified workforce.


The FBBR system, or Fixed Bed Biofilm Reactor, is more similar to MBBR than MBR. Its distinctive feature is a fixed substrate covering the walls of the tank. With this configuration, it helps reduce operating and maintenance costs, making it highly cost-effective.

The biological layer converts contaminants into sedimentary matter through aerobic organisms using oxygen. This oxygen comes from a layer beneath the substrate, providing an upward flow of air. This self-regulating system is not only effective but also cost-effective in terms of component costs compared to MBR. However, as with MBBR, sludge must be treated.


SBRs (sequential batch reactors) use a separate pretreatment section to mechanically retain the solids. Together with this, there is an aeration and biological settling tank.

Small SBR wastewater treatment systems clean the wastewater. This is a few sentences explaining how the SBR technology works.

  • First, wastewater undergoes an initial treatment, either mechanical or chemical, to remove solids. After this operation, the wastewater will enter the second tank. They will be processed by the SBR method.
  • The effectiveness of this treatment relies on controlled aeration, facilitated by specialized microorganisms. In the SBR process, there is an alternation between short aeration phases and resting periods. And it is during these stages that activated sludge forms.
  • After alternating cycles of rest and aeration, a long resting phase occurs. During this time, the sludge settles at the bottom of the tank, leaving purified water at the surface.
  • This water is then separated from the mixture, and the sludge returns to the first tank. In accordance with standards, the purified water can either be released or undergo further treatment to ensure its purity.
MBR-MBBR-FBBR 1h2o3 comparison table
Shopping Cart