A pilot scale study was set up to investigate the principle design parameters of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors for treating wastewater of small communities in the tropical regions of Iran. A steel pipe with a diameter of 600 mm and a height of 3.6 m was used as the reactor in which a digestion and a 3-phase separator element had a volume of 0.848 and 0.17 m3 respectively. During this study, which lasted for 203 days, two distinct phases were carried out according to the ambient temperature. The temperature of the wastewater entering the reactor was naturally ranged from 22 to 26 0C and no heat exchanger was used. The hydraulic retention times including 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 hours with various loading rates of 0.95 to 5.70 kg COD/m3/day for colder period and from 1.35 to 6.40 kg COD/m3/day for warmer period were examined. On the basis of the results the optimal hydraulic retention time for warmer period with a 2.20 kg COD/m3/day organic loading rate was 6 hours which BOD5, COD and TSS removal efficiency were 71, 63 and 65 percent respectively. During the colder period the removal ratio of BOD5, COD and TSS with an optimal hydraulic retention time of 8 hours and organic loading rate of 1.22 kg COD/m3/day were 54, 46 and 53 percent respectively.
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