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Monitoring Microbial Removal in MBR

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An effective on-line monitoring procedure for microbial contaminant removal in Membrane Bioreactors (MBRs) is needed since the great differences between potable water and wastewater matrices hinder the application of common methodologies currently used for potable water membrane applications to MBR applications. The main objective of this work was to establish MBR log removal value (LRV) capability for microbial contaminants including protozoa, bacteria (coliforms) and virus, and to establish a practical means for monitoring and verification of LRV. Tests were conducted with intact GE ZeeWeed® ultrafiltration membranes and membranes that had been deliberately compromised with pinholes, abrasion and different amounts of cut fibres. It was observed that LRVs calculated from pressure decay tests substantially under predicted observed contaminant LRV, especially with damaged membranes. This damage had to be extensive to cause a significant decline in contaminant LRV. On-line membrane permeate turbidity monitoring was sufficiently responsive to detect membrane damage that resulted in a significant decline in contaminant LRV.

A full scale performance monitoring program was initiated at 10 MBRs operating with GE ZeeWeed® ultrafiltration membranes for a period from 1.5 to 7.5 years. Membrane permeate was regularly sampled for coliform concentration over several months at each of the ten plants. Results indicated consistently low coliform concentrations, substantially below the actual effluent requirements.

Keywords: membrane bioreactor; microbial removal; turbidity; ultrafiltration

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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