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Biosolids Thickening using Membrane BioReactors at the Cauley Creek Water Reclamation Plant Fulton County, GA

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The Cauley Creek WRF is a Zenon Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Facility that was constructed in 2 Phases, with each Phase having a max month treatment capacity of 2.5 MGD for a total of 5.0 MGD. The Phase I design treatment scheme was preliminary treatment (fine screen and grit removal), biological treatment with nitrification and dentrification, chemical Phosphorous (P) removal and Zenon Hollow Fiber Membranes for solids separation. The Waste activated sludge was stored in a sludge holding basin prior to dewatering with centrifuges. However, because of the high cost of chemicals for Chemical P removal, the Phase 2 design included Biological P removal for all Phases as well nitrification and denitrification (BNR). Additionally, Cauley Creek wanted to produce Class B sludge for future land application, therefore the sludge holding basin needed to be converted to an aerobic digester. This change in sludge handling requirements increased the capital cost of the expansion significantly. In order to provide a cost effective solution for thickening sludge the concept sludge thickening using membranes was proposed.

By utilizing hollow fiber membranes for WAS thickening, the plant expansion did not require an increase in the existing sludge holding basin volume and by converting to jet aeration, Cauley Creek was able to utilize existing PD blowers, thereby further reducing the cost of expansion. The economic analysis of membrane thickening provided a significantly lower capital costs as well as life cycle costs versus the alternative of the typical WAS thickening processes and aerobic digester configuration.

This paper is of interest to water/wastewater utilities with MBRs that are facing the need to thicken waste biological solids for digestion, other forms of stabilization or to simply enhance dewatering.

Keywords: Biosolids; MBRs; Membrane BioReactors; thickening

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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