Influence of filtration conditions on membrane fouling and scouring aeration effectiveness in submerged membrane bioreactors to treat municipal wastewater

John-Paul Nywening, Hongde Zhou
Water Research 2009, 43 (14): 3548-58
Membrane fouling and scouring aeration effectiveness were studied using three large pilot-scale submerged membrane bioreactors (MBRs) operated at a series of permeate fluxes, scouring aeration intensities and cyclic aeration frequencies to treat municipal wastewater. The results showed that when operated at the sustainable conditions, the MBRs had a stable reversible fouling resistance. At unsustainable conditions, the reversible fouling resistance increased exponentially as filtration progressed. For each of above two cases, the fouling ratios newly defined by Eqs. (7) and (8) were calculated from the transmembrane pressure increases to compare the relative reversible fouling rates. With the range of sustainable filtration conditions, the fouling ratios at the same reference scouring aeration intensity were found to be proportional to permeate flux. Similarly, the fouling ratios calculated with the same reference permeate flux decreased exponentially with increasing scouring aeration intensity. Moreover, the effects of scouring aeration intensity and permeate flux on the fouling ratios were found to be independent of one another. As a result, an empirical relationship was derived to relate the stable reversible fouling resistance to sustainable permeate fluxes and scouring aeration intensities. Its application was demonstrated by constructing transmembrane pressure contours overlaid with scouring aeration effectiveness contours to aid in the selection of optimal MBR filtration conditions.

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