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Comparative Performance of A2/O and a Novel Membrane-Bioreactor-Based Process for Biological Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal

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The comparison between a novel membrane bioreactor (MBR) system and a conventional anaerobic-anoxic-aerobic (A2/O) system was conducted using synthetic wastewater (SWW) and municipal wastewater (MWW). Each system was operated at an overall hydraulic retention time of 8 hours and solids retention time of 10 days. The MBR exhibited better overall system performance than the A2/O system, in terms of phosphorus removal. Nitrogen removal efficiencies were close in the two systems at 73 to 74% in both runs, while phosphorus removal efficiencies were 96 and 74% (SWW run) and 80 and 75% (MWW run), for the MBR and A2/O, respectively. Effluent soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) was less than 15 mg/L in the two systems during both runs. Phosphorus uptake by denitrifying phosphate-accumulating organisms accounted for 49% of the total uptake in the MBR compared with 33% in the A2/O during the SWW run. The dynamic test clearly showed that the MBR had better denitrification capacity than the A2/O system. The MWW run indicated that MBR ferments particulate COD better than A2/O. The effect of the intermediate clarifier on MBR phosphorus removal was significant, with phosphorus uptake of 0.16 g/d in the SWW run and phosphorus release of 0.08 g/d in the MWW run, thus enhancing the total phosphorus removal in both cases.

Keywords: denitrifying phosphate-accumulating organisms; enhanced biological phosphorus removal; membrane bioreactor

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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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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