Performance comparison of a pilot-scale membrane bioreactor and a full-scale sequencing batch reactor with sand filtration: treatment of low strength wastewater from a northern Canadian Aboriginal Community

K Frederickson, N Cicek
Water Science and Technology: a Journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research 2005, 51 (6): 483-90
Northern Aboriginal communities in Canada suffer from poor wastewater treatment. Treatment systems on 75% of Manitoban Aboriginal communities produce substandard effluent despite the presence of sophisticated treatment systems. A 200-litre, pilot-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) was established on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation to investigate the feasibility of MBRs in mitigating Aboriginal wastewater treatment issues. The pilot system was remote controlled and monitored via the Internet using the program pcAnywhere. The community utilized two existing sequencing batch reactors (SBR) and three sand filters for wastewater treatment. The community wastewater was relatively weak and highly fluctuating which led to poorly settling sludge that readily fouled the sand filters. A comparison study between the MBR and SBR was undertaken from September to December 2003. Operated at a 10-hour hydraulic retention time and 20-day solids residence time, the MBR outperformed the SBR and sand filtration on BOD and suspended solids removal. Furthermore, the MBR showed high levels of nitrification despite relatively cold water temperatures.

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