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Changes in Mixed Liquor and Organic Foulant Properties Affect Membrane Fouling for Non-Nitrifying and Nitrifying Biological Conditions

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A submerged membrane bioreactor treated settled municipal wastewater at a non-nitrifying solids retention time (SRT) condition (2 days) and a nitrifying SRT condition (10 days), to determine the effect of nitrification on mixed liquor properties and membrane fouling.

Membrane fouling rates were almost 10 times greater at the 2-day SRT compared with the 10-day SRT, and results showed increased concentrations of high-molecular-weight organic molecules at the 2-day SRT. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) results of the fouled membrane from the 2-day SRT exhibited strong peaks for carbohydrates, while the fouled membrane from the 10-day SRT did not. This is consistent with the fact that, although the total carbohydrate soluble microbial product concentration was highest at the 10-day SRT, the carbohydrate consisted of mostly low-molecular-weight (<1 kDa) molecules, and 97% of this carbohydrate passed through the membrane at the 10-day SRT.

Keywords: extracellular polymeric substances; membrane fouling; modified fouling index; molecular weight; solids retention time; soluble microbial products; submerged membrane bioreactor

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009

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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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