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Submerged Membrane Bioreactor at Substrate-Limited Conditions: Activity and Biomass Characteristics

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Abstract:

A pilot-scale membrane bioreactor was operated for advanced treatment of secondary effluent from a wastewater treatment plant. The performance and biomass characteristics were evaluated under two different hydraulic retention time (HRT) values (7.5 and 15 hours). The system was operated successfully without biomass purge and, after an initial phase, evolved until reaching a constant mixed-liquor volatile suspended solids (MLVSS) concentration, which resulted in the same value of carbon utilization rate (0.067 ± 0.004 kg COD kg−1 MLVSS d−1) for both HRTs. Respiration tests (maximum and endogenous oxygen uptake rates) confirmed a low microbial activity, which approached constant values (0.132 ± 0.001 and 0.064 ± 0.007 g O2 g−1 MLVSS d−1, respectively), regardless of the HRT. The sludge morphology and bound and supernatant extracellular polymeric substances also were assessed. Membrane performance was characterized by a stable behavior occurring simultaneously with a high level of biodegradation in the microcolloidal and soluble fraction.

Keywords: biomass activity; biomass reduction; extracellular polymeric substances; maintenance metabolism; submerged membrane bioreactor; substrate limitation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143009X447911

Publication date: March 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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