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Membrane fouling in pilot-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) treating municipal wastewater

Membrane fouling in pilot-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) treating municipal wastewater

Environmental Science and Technology 39(16): 6293-6299

The main obstacle for wider use of membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for wastewater treatment is membrane fouling (i.e., deterioration of membrane permeability),which increases operating costs. For more efficient control of membrane fouling in MBRs, an understanding of the mechanisms of membrane fouling is important. However, there is a lack of information on membrane fouling in MBRs, especially information on features of components that are responsible for the fouling. We conducted a pilot-scale experiment using real municipal wastewater with three identical MBRs under different operating conditions. The results obtained in this study suggested that the food-microorganisms ratio (F/M) and membrane filtration flux were the important operating parameters that significantly influenced membrane fouling in MBRs. Neither concentrations of dissolved organic matter in the reactors nor viscosity of mixed liquor, which have been thought to have influences on fouling in MBRs, showed clear relationships with membrane fouling in this study. Organic substances that had caused the membrane fouling were desorbed from fouled membranes of the MBRs at the termination of the operation and were subjected to Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses. These analyses revealed that the nature of the membrane foulant changes depending on F/M. It was shown that high F/M would make the foulant more proteinaceous. Carbohydrates were dominant in membrane foulants in this study, while features of humic substances were not apparent.

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Accession: 004450121

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16173595

DOI: 10.1021/es0502425

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