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Full-Scale Assessment of the Nutrient Removal Capabilities of Membrane Bioreactors

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Operating results from two full-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) practicing biological and chemical phosphorus and biological nitrogen removal to meet stringent effluent nutrient limits are analyzed. Full-scale results and special studies conducted at these facilities resulted in the development of guidelines for the design of MBRs to achieve stringent effluent nutrient concentrations—as low as 0.05 mg/L total phosphorus and 3 mg/L total nitrogen. These guidelines include the following: (1) direct the membrane recirculation flow to the aerobic zone, (2) provide intense mixing at the inlets of the anaerobic and anoxic zones, (3) maintain internal recirculation flowrates to maintain the desired mixed liquor suspended solids distribution, and (4) carefully control supplemental metal salt addition in proportion to the phosphorus remaining after biological removal is complete. Staging the various process zones and providing effective dissolved oxygen control also enhances nutrient removal performance. The results demonstrated that process performance can be characterized by the International Water Association (London, United Kingdom) (IWA) activated sludge model number 2d (ASM2d) and the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Virginia) chemical phosphorus removal model. These models subsequently were used to develop unique process configurations that are currently under design and/or construction for several full-scale nutrient removal MBRs.
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Keywords: biological; chemical; membrane bioreactor; nitrogen; nutrients; phosphorus; removal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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