The treatment of acidic (pH 6.5-3), sulfate- (2-3 g/L), Zn- and Cu- (total metal 0-500 mg/L) containing wastewater was studied in a four-stage anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR) at 35 A degrees C for 250 days. Ethanol was supplemented (COD/SO(4) (2-) = 0.67) as carbon and electron source for sulfate reducing bacteria. Sulfate reduction, COD oxidation and metal precipitation efficiencies were 70-92, 80-94 and > 99%, respectively. The alkalinity produced from sulfidogenic ethanol oxidation increased the wastewater pH from 3.0 to 7.0-8.0. The electron flow from organic oxidation to sulfate averaged 87%. Decreasing feed pH to 3 and increasing total metal concentrations to 500 mg/L did not adversely affect the performance of ABR and sufficient alkalinity was produced to increase the effluent pH to neutral values. More than 99% of metals were precipitated in the form of metal-sulfides. Accumulation of precipitated metals in the first compartment allowed metal recovery without disturbing reactor performance seriously.