A pilot-scale trickling filter was constructed and tested for biological chromium(VI) removal from industrial wastewater. Indigenous bacteria from industrial sludge were enriched and used as inoculum for the filter. Sodium acetate was used as carbon source and it was found to inhibit chromate reduction at high concentrations. Three different operating modes were used to investigate the optimal performance and efficiency of the filter, i.e. batch, continuous and SBR with recirculation. The latter one was found to achieve removal rates up to 530 g Cr(VI)/m2 d, while aeration was taking place naturally without the use of any external mechanical means. The low operating cost combined with the high hexavalent chromium reduction rates indicates that this technology may offer a feasible solution to a very serious environmental problem.