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A Comparison of Membrane Bioreactor and Conventional-Activated-Sludge Mixed Liquor and Biosolids Characteristics

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Characteristics and behavior of raw and digested mixed liquor derived from a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and a full-scale activated-sludge (FSAS) facility were compared. The accumulation of nondegradable chemical oxygen demand in the MBR appears to play an important role in increasing the observed biological yield coefficient (Yobs), reducing average floc size, decreasing total suspended solids/total solids and volatile suspended solids/volatile solids (VS) ratios, and reducing specific-oxygen-uptake rates of the mixed liquor relative to FSAS-derived biological solids. Membrane bioreactor sludges exhibited lower VS destruction following 30 days mesophilic-anaerobic and aerobic digestion when compared to FSAS sludges. Significant deterioration in dewatering behavior was observed for the FSAS biosolids after anaerobic digestion and, to a lesser extent, following aerobic digestion. In comparison, digestion had a small affect on dewatering efficiency and conditioner requirements for MBR biosolids. Full-scale facilities using membrane separation may need to tailor digestion and dewatering processes to the specific characteristics of MBR sludges.
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Keywords: activated sludge; biosolids; colloidal chemical oxygen demand; conditioning demand; dewatering; membrane bioreactor; volatile solids destruction

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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