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Efficiently Managing Peak Flows in Membrane Bioreactors (MBR)

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Submerged Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Systems are now considered a form of Best Available Treatment (BAT) for wastewater. Although the technology is becoming more prevalent, factors preventing more widespread use include total installed cost and concerns regarding actual energy efficiency. A side-stream treatment system, capable of meeting most nitrogen permits, is proposed utilizing direct ultrafiltration (UF) of wastewater followed by activated carbon and zeolite for treatment of dilute transient peak flows ranging between 2-10 times the rated capacity of the facility. The proposed system can require a normalized energy usage of less than >0.1 kWh/m3 (6 – 60 times less than reported usages for existing MBR plants). Multiple net present worth analyses (NPW) using actual total installed cost data suggest that a two-stream system will make economic sense given a peaking factor greater than four times the average rated capacity of the facility.

Keywords: MBR; Membrane Bioreactor; Peak Flows; Peak Instantaneous Flows (PIF); Peaking Factor (PF); activated carbon; alum; best available treatment; biological nutrient removal (BNR); flat-sheet membranes; net present worth (NPW); side-stream treatment; turndown; two-stream system; ultrafiltration (UF); zeolite

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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