In the aerobic phase of the biological phosphorus removal process, poly-β-hydroxybutyrate, produced during anaerobic conditions, is used for cell growth, phosphate uptake, and glycogen formation. A metabolic model of this process has been developed. The yields for growth, polyphosphate and glycogen formation are quantified using the coupling of all these conversions to the oxygen consumption. The uptake of phosphate and storage as polyphosphate is shown to have a direct effect on the observed oxygen consumption in the aerobic phase. The overall energy requirements for the P-metabolism are substantial: 25% of the acetate consumed during anaerobic conditions and 60% of the oxygen consumptions is used for the synthesis of polyphosphate and glycogen. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.