With increasing water reuse applications and possible stringent regulations of phosphorus content in secondary and tertiary effluent discharge in Florida, USA, alternative technologies beyond conventional treatment processes require implementation to achieve low phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) concentrations. A pilot scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) system, operated in Florida, adopted the University of Cape Town (UCT) biological process for the treatment of domestic wastewater. The system operated for 280 days at a wastewater treatment facility with total hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 7 h and sludge retention time (SRT) of 20 days. Operating conditions were controlled to maintain specific dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the reactors, operate at suitable return activated sludge (RAS) rates and to waste from the appropriate reactor. This process favored biological phosphorus removal and achieved 94.1% removal efficiency. Additionally, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and N removal were achieved at 93.9% and 86.6%, respectively. Membrane operation and maintenance did not affect the biological P removal performance but enhanced the process given the different operating requirements compared to that required with the conventional UCT process alone. Conclusively, the result of the pilot study demonstrated improvement in biological phosphorus removal. The UCT-MBR process tested achieved average effluent nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations of 5 mg/L as N and 0.3 mg/L as P.
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Research Article| July 01 2013
Improving biological phosphorus removal in membrane bioreactors – a pilot study
S. Smith, G. Kim, L. Doan, H. Roh; Improving biological phosphorus removal in membrane bioreactors – a pilot study. Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination 1 March 2014; 4 (1): 25–33. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wrd.2013.119
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