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The use of submerged media in activated sludge treatment of wastewater has been in practice for well over 60 years. The use of submerged media gave a stable process that responded well to influent fluctuations, and achieved treatment in a small footprint. The primary goal of the treatment process then and now is reduction of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the wastewater, before the wastewater is discharged into the environment, such as the ground, creek, river or ocean. In the 1980s and 1990s, integration of this media began with conventional activated sludge plants, resulting in the development of Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge (IFAS) plants.

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