A mixed culture of algae was used to treat pulping mill effluent in terms of removing both colour and adsorbably organic halides (AOX). The removal of AOX from pulping effluent increased with increasing initial colour Value of the effluent. However, for the total mill effluent (composed of both pulping and bleaching effluents), AOX removal was found to be independent of initial colour value, and was around 70%. Up to 80% removal of colour from pulping effluent was achieved within 30 days under continuous lighting conditions. It was found that algae reduced the colour of pulping effluent of relatively low initial colour more efficiently than that of high initial colour. Under simulated field lighting conditions, up to 60% colour removal from pulping, effluent was observed after 60 days of exposure, whereas for the total mill effluent it was up to 64% after 45 days. Total organic carbon and lignin (UVA(280)) were also removed to a significant extent, suggesting that the mechanism of colour removal might not be transformation of the coloured lignin molecules to non-coloured ones. Analysis of alkaline extraction of the algal biomass and material balance findings indicated that the main colour removal mechanism was metabolism rather than adsorption. The experimental results were also analysed using multiple regression techniques and a mathematical model was developed to express the removal of colour from pulping effluents in terms of initial colour value, exposure time and lighting periods as well as interactions between these variables.