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Effect of Membranes on Refractory Dissolved Organic Nitrogen

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A 500-day comparative study with a novel membrane bioreactor (NMBR), anaerobic‐anoxic‐aerobic (A2/O) process, and University of Cape Town-adapted MBR (UMBR) investigated the effect of membrane on effluent dissolved organic nitrogen (efDON) using synthetic (SWW) and municipal wastewater (MWW). The runs, comparing an NMBR and A2/O process, indicated 0.3 mg/L lower efDON in the former than the latter. However, NMBR and UMBR achieved similar efDON quality, with an average of 0.8 mg/L, and the DON reduction by membrane averaged 0.4 mg/L, while the A2/O efDON was slightly higher than DON in the aeration tank, by 0.08 mg/L, on average. The efDON during the MWW run increased by as much as 0.8 mg/L compared with the SWW run. The efDON is a component of a protein found in soluble microbial products, and it followed a cyclical temporal pattern during the runs. Membrane fouling propensity increased the efDON. This study presents evidence that membranes are effective in reducing efDON.

Keywords: biological nutrient removal; dissolved organic nitrogen; membrane bioreactor

Document Type: Research Article


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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