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Can Membrane Biological Reactors (MBR) Help Save The Illinois?

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The City of Siloam Springs, Arkansas initiated a pilot demonstration project to verify wastewater treatment process technology existed that was capable of reliably meeting an unprecedented and politically charged in-stream water quality standard of 0.037 mg/L for total phosphorus in the scenic Illinois River of Northeast Oklahoma.

Membrane Biological Reactor (MBR) integrated with biological and chemical nutrient removal was proposed by Garver Engineers as a process train which could achieve the extremely low effluent phosphorous limit. In order to demonstrate the process train, the City, Garver Engineers, and two membrane manufacturers pilot tested the process technology on primary effluent at the WWTP. The pilot program consisted of four phases including start-up, optimization, demonstration and recovery. Performance was verified by certified laboratory analysis of 24 hr composite samples.

This paper reviews key components of the pilot study, including: process train, process units, pilot program, process operation, and process performance. Results of the pilot study demonstrated that the 0.037 mg/L phosphorus limit could be reliably met while simultaneously meeting the 10 mg/L nitrate limit with MBR technology.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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