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Toward a High-Rate Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Process in a Membrane-Assisted Bioreactor

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A membrane enhanced biological phosphorus removal (MEBPR) process was studied to determine the impact of hydraulic retention time (HRT) and solids retention time (SRT) on the removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD), nitrogen, and phosphorus from municipal wastewater. The MEBPR process was capable of delivering complete nitrification independent of the prevailing operating conditions, whereas a significant improvement in COD removal efficiency was observed at longer SRTs. In the absence of carbon-limiting conditions, the MEBPR process was able to achieve low phosphorus concentrations in the effluent at increasingly higher hydraulic loads, with the lowest HRT being 5 hours. The MEBPR process was also able to maintain optimal phosphorus removal when the SRT was increased from 12 to 20 days. However, at higher suspended solids concentrations, a substantial increase was observed in carbon utilization per unit mass of phosphorus removed from the influent. These results offer critical insights to the application of membrane technology for biological nutrient removal systems.

Keywords: biological nutrient removal; enhanced biological phosphorus removal; mass balances; membrane processes

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2007

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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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