A two-stage membrane bioreactor was used to treat dissolved-air-flotation pretreated, high-strength pet food wastewater characterized by oil and grease concentrations of 50 000 to 82 000 mg/L and total chemical oxygen demand (COD) and five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5)
concentrations of 100 000 and 80 000 mg/L, respectively, to meet stringent surface discharge criteria (i.e., BOD5, total suspended solids [TSS], and ammonium-nitrogen [NH4+-N] of <10 mg/L at an overall hydraulic retention time of
6.3 days). Organic contaminants were removed primarily in the first stage, followed by almost complete removal of ammonia in the second stage. Despite a rise in poorly biodegradable COD in the second stage, overall removal of TSS, BOD5, COD, and ammonia was 100, 99.9, 95.2, and
99.7%, respectively, thus readily achieving the required criteria. Consistent nitrite accumulation over a period of more than 100 days, even at dissolved oxygen concentrations of more than 2.5 mg/L, was remarkable. A residual alkalinity requirement for nitrification was quantified.
Membrane performance was extensively studied in this work.
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