Excess sludge disposal is one of the serious challenges in biological wastewater treatment. Reduction of sludge production would be an ideal way to solve sludge-associated problems rather than the post-treatment of the sludge produced. In this study, a new wastewater treatment process combining anaerobic/anoxic/oxic system with thermochemical sludge pretreatment was tested in a laboratory scale experiment. In this study, the effects of the sludge pretreatment on the excess sludge production in anaerobic/anoxic/oxic were investigated. The system was operated in two Runs (1 and 2). In Run 1, the system was operated as a reference and in Run 2, a part of the mixed liquid was pretreated thermochemically and was returned to the bioreactor. The average solubilization efficiency of pretreated sludge was found to be about 35 % during the study period of 220 days. Sludge production rate in Run 2 was less than that in Run 1 by about 52 %. Total phosphorous was removed by enhanced biological phosphorous removal with the removal efficiency of 83–87 % and 81–83 % for Run 1 and Run 2, respectively. Total nitrogen removal in Run 2 (79–82 %) was slightly higher than that in Run 1 (68–75 %). The mixed liquor suspended solids/mixed liquor volatile suspended solids ratio was identical after both runs in the range 78–83 %. The effluent water qualities were not significantly affected when operated with thermochemical pretreatment at pH 11 and 60 °C for 3 h during 7 months. From the present study it is concluded that thermochemical sludge pretreatment of anaerobic/anoxic/oxic process plays an important role in reduction of sludge production.