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Influence of Loading/Decanting Patterns on Sludge Properties and Membrane Fouling in Membrane Bioreactors Treating Synthetic Early Planetary Base Wastewater

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This research studied the influence of membrane bioreactor (MBR) loading/decanting patterns on sludge properties and membrane fouling. Two MBRs, one with continuous loading/decanting (cMBR) and the other with batch loading/decanting (bMBR), were setup and operated in parallel treating synthetic Early Planetary Base Wastewater (EPBW) and generate sludge mixed liquor that was used in batch filtration tests to characterize membrane fouling. During the MBR operation, the concentration of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), floc size distribution, viscosity, and zeta potential of the sludge mixed liquor in the two MBRs were compared. The results showed that the bMBR generated sludge with lower EPS concentrations, larger flocs, lower viscosity, and lower zeta potential as compared to the cMBR, suggesting bMBR sludge could result in reduced membrane fouling. The sludge mixed liquor in the two MBRs were used for both cross flow filtration with constant transmembrane pressure and submerged filtration with constant transmembrane flux. A microfiltration (MF) membrane and an ultrafiltration (UF) membrane were used in all the filtration tests. Consistent with the sludge property results, both cross flow and submerged filtrations suggested that sludge mixed liquor in the bMBR resulted in lesser membrane fouling. This study showed that membrane fouling could be reduced by designing MBRs with more appropriate loading/decanting patterns.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-01

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