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Biological Coating of Membranes of Fine Bubble Diffusers – Impacts and Countermeasures

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During the last years unusual biological coatings on membranes of fine bubble diffusers have been a problem in many wastewater treatment plants. The increase of the diffusers' back pressure as well as the reduced oxygen transfer of the coated membranes lead to a significant increase in the power consumption of the aeration system. In some cases the blowers have to be stopped due to overheating, so that a reliable operation of the wastewater treatment plant is no longer guaranteed. Especially diffusers with membranes of EPDM show problems, although in a few individual cases there are reports on problems with diffusers made of silicone, as well.

The investigations show that the back pressure of plasticizer-free silicone membranes - which are used as an alternative for plasticizer-containing EPDM membranes - is often higher than with EPDM membranes, not only when new but also during operation. Mechanical cleaning, e.g. with high-pressure cleaners and dirt blaster does not always lead to the desired success. Moreover, when using too high a cleaning intensity, membranes might be damaged without being noticed, and thus, the oxygen transfer efficiency of the diffusers might be reduced dramatically.
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Keywords: BACK PRESSURE; BIOLOGICAL COATING; CLEANING; COATING; DIFFUSER AGEING; EPDM; FINE BUBBLE AERATION; MEMBRANE; SILICONE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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