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Achieving Low Effluent Nutrient Concentrations Using Membrane Bioreactor Technology: Documenting “How Low You Can Go”

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Operating results from two full-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) practicing biological and chemical phosphorus and biological nitrogen removal to meet stringent effluent nutrient limits are analyzed. Pilot and special studies of the full-scale systems resulted in the development of guidelines for the design of MBRs to achieve stringent effluent nutrient concentrations, as low as 0.05 mg-P/L total phosphorus (TP) and 3 mg-N/L total nitrogen (TN). These include: (1) direction of the membrane recirculation flow to the aerobic zone, (2) provision of intense mixing at the inlets of the anaerobic and anoxic zones, (3) maintaining internal recirculation flow rates to maintain the desired mixed liquor suspended solids distribution, and (4) carefully controlling supplemental metal salt addition in proportion to the phosphorus remaining after biological removal is complete. The results also demonstrated that process performance can be accurately characterized by the International Water Association (IWA) activated sludge model number 2d (ASM2d) and the Water Environment Federation chemical phosphorus removal model. These models were used to develop unique process configurations which are currently under design and/or construction for several full-scale nutrient removal MBRs.
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Keywords: Biological; Chemical; Membrane Bioreactor; Nitrogen; Nutrients; Phosphorus; Removal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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