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A Modeling Study of Fouling Development in Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment

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Membrane fouling is a primary concern in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) in wastewater treatment because it strongly affects both system stability and economic feasibility. A mathematical model was developed in this study for membrane fouling in submerged MBR systems for wastewater treatment, in which both reversible and irreversible fouling were quantified. While mixed liquor suspended solids are the major components of the reversible fouling layer, dissolved organic matter is thought to be the key foulant, in particular, responsible for the long-term irreversible fouling of the filtration unit. The model was calibrated (parameter identification) with a set of operational data from a pilot MBR and then verified with other independent operational data from the MBR. The good agreement between theoretical predictions and operational data demonstrates that the outlined modeling concept can be successfully applied to describe membrane fouling in submerged MBR systems.

Keywords: dissolved organic matter; fouling; irreversible fouling; membrane bioreactor; model simulation; reversible fouling

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2006

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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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