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Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) for Removal of EDCs from Landfill Leachate: A Pretreatment Strategy for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

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Abstract:

Municipal landfill leachate, especially from young landfills (<10 yr), has been implicated as a potential source of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) - many of which are endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) - to the environment. Leachate can also present a significant loading of PPCPs to municipal wastewater treatment plants which accept leachate. The anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) is a promising technology for treating high strength wastewater such as landfill Leachate. A novel lab-scale UASB reactor equipped with dual-flat sheet ultrafiltration membrane modules was designed and constructed to test the potential to remove PPCPs (e.g., female hormones) and traditional landfill leachate constituents (COD, nitrogen, etc.).

Synthetic leachate which has COD concentration of about 18,000 mg/L was treated by the AnMBR system. The organic loading rate (OLRs) was from 3.9-5 kg COD/m3day and the hydraulic retention time (HRT) was 4.16 days. The system was operated with two membrane modules. One was operated to yield a specific flux of about 20 LMH/bar and the other was operated at around 40 LMH/bar. The MLSS of the bioreactor was maintained around 6000-7000 mg/L. During the first 80 days of operation, the efficiency of COD removal of the AnMBR was from 40%-60%, showing good indication as a pretreatment option for leachate before discharge to municipal wastewater treatment plants.

A second objective of study was to understand the fate of the hormones in the AnMBR. In the anaerobic membrane system, trace hormone compounds can be distributed to solid phases such as sludge, powder activated carbon and colloids. A phase distribution model of hormone compounds in anaerobic system was developed. Model results indicate that sludge phase dominates the distribution of hormone in the anaerobic system.

Keywords: Anaerobic membrane bioreactor; E1; E2; EE2; hormones; landfill leachate; phase distribution modeling; sorption

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864709793953872

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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