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Pilot Study to Evaluate MBBR as a Sustainable Treatment Solution for Irrigation Reuse

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A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the moving bed bioreactor (MBBR) technology as a viable and sustainable treatment solution for irrigation reuse in southwest Florida. The MBBR pilot objectives were to validate reliable CBOD removal while suppressing nitrification to meet the NO3-N reuse standard of 10 mg/L, and to optimize the MBBR design criteria. A number of MBBR design and operational strategies were investigated to meet the treatment objectives, including: adjusting media CBOD surface area loading rates, DO control to suppress nitrification, and providing an internal recycle back to a swing (oxic/anoxic) zone to provide moderate nitrate removal as necessary. The pilot program results validated that the MBBR process could be designed to accomplish reliable CBOD removal while adequately suppressing nitrification to consistently maintain an effluent nitrate concentration of less than 10 mg/L. The results were used to calibrate a process simulation model used to optimize the design and to predict process performance under current and future loading conditions. An environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to confirm the CBOD removal MBBR design was a sustainable treatment solution for irrigation reuse compared to other treatment options, including conventional activated sludge and membrane bioreactors.
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Keywords: DO Control; Life Cycle Assessment; MBBR; Media Loading Rates; Nitrification Suppression; Pilot Plant

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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