To achieve stable and simultaneous removal of nitrogen and phosphorus using aerobic granular sludge in a sequencing batch reactor, a real-time control strategy was established, where time derivatives of electric conductivity (EC) and pH were monitored to facilitate the determinations of ends of phosphate release, nitrification and denitrification as well as corresponding optimum time-lengths of anaerobic, oxic, and anoxic phases in treatment cycles. Although biomass concentration in a reactor drastically fluctuated at the startup period because of very short sludge settling time for the formation of aerobic granular sludge, cycle length for proper treatment was automatically adjusted in this control system. Even when characteristics of influent wastewater markedly fluctuated, stable nitrogen and phosphorus removal was successfully attained both before and at pseudo-steady-state. Effluent concentrations of NH 4-N, NOx-N and PO4-P were always lower than 0.3 mg/L. On the other hand, when time lengths of the anaerobic/oxic/anoxic phases were fixed, stable nitrogen and phosphorus removal was not accomplished. Therefore, it is clear that the designed control system is very effective to obtain stable treatment performance in simultaneous nitrogen and phosphorus removal by aerobic granular sludge.
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