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One of the most promising and innovative technologies in water reclamation today is the membrane bioreactor (MBR) process. (Adham et al., 1998) However, the limits of the MBR process for wastewater treatment are not very well understood to date. With funding provided by WERF and in-kind contributions provided by the City of San Diego, the project team investigated the MBR process for wastewater treatment. Two MBR pilot units were operated in parallel to effectively evaluate each test condition on domestic wastewater in San Diego, California. The project was designed to evaluate the limitations and the advantages associated with the MBR process. The first part of the study evaluated the MBR process under high organic loading rates while sustaining nitrification at relatively long sludge ages. The second part of the study evaluated the MBR process under non-nitrifying conditions and reduced suspended solids concentrations. Through out the entire period of testing, regardless of extreme operating conditions, the MBRs consistently produced water that resulted in non-detect BOD5 values and an average COD removal of greater than 90%. The effluent turbidities averaged 0.1 NTU through out the testing period. In addition, the MBR effluents consistently exceeded the water quality of the full-scale tertiary plant that was treating the same wastewater.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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