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The application of membrane bioreactors (MBR) technology in the United States is still in the early stages. For the most part, the design and operation of MBRs has tended to mirror that of conventional activated sludge. Unfortunately, this approach does not utilize the full range of capabilities offered by the MBR technology. This paper discusses the implementation of a modified approach for MBR design and operation to leverage the advantages of this technology. The discussion is based on the recent MBR project for the Sammamish Valley Reclaimed Water Production Facility (SVRWPF) for King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Seattle, Washington. The use of this modified MBR design and operational approach has resulted in a significant reduction in construction cost, while also simplifying the plant operational strategy. Extensive pilot testing was conducted to confirm several of the new concepts explored as part of this modified approach. Pilot test results demonstrated the ability of an MBR to handle short term peak hydraulic events. Testing results also suggest a strong inverse relationship between the mixed liquor suspended solids concentration and the allowable membrane flux. Furthermore, increasing the turbulence in the membrane reactor appears to increase solids back-transport and improve the hydraulic performance of the membrane during peak flow events. This testing also investigated the effect of SRT on the physiological state of the activated sludge and the resultant flux behavior.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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