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An aeration unit was placed below the filter module serving the aeration of the activated sludge. The total aeration rate was 2.6–4.5 L/min and the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration was between 2 and 4 mg/L. A temperature control system was installed and temperature fluctuation ranged between 20 and 22 °C according to ambient conditions. The gained values were run automatically in sequencing-flow mode, in which the influent, anaerobic, aerobic and effluent time were 30, 150, 150 and 30 min, respectively. The bioreactors were firstly inoculated with 6–7 g/L seed activated sludge from a local municipal wastewater treatment plant (China, Nanjing). AT particles with an equivalent diameter of 5–10 mm were supplied to the bioreactor during the cultivation stage to reach a concentration of about 0.5 g/L in the reactor tank. The influent to the experimental setup was real municipal wastewater from a local municipal wastewater treatment plant. The characteristics of the wastewater and the operating conditions of sDMBR system are listed in Table 1.

Table 1

Municipal wastewater characteristics and the operating conditions of sDMBR system

Quality of municipal wastewater used in this study
Analysis items COD (mg/L) NH4+-N (mg/L) TN(mg/L) TP(mg/L) pH 
Values 173 ∼ 506 36.9 ∼ 79.1 50.7 ∼ 93.4 1.57 ∼ 6.43 7 ∼ 8 
Average 294 57.2 72.8 3.57 7.5 
Operating conditions of the sDMBR system 
 Flux (L m–2 h–160 
 Temperature (°C) 20–22 
 HRT (h) 
 SRT (days) 30 
 Membrane flux (L m–2 h–162 
 Reactor volume (L) 25 
 Effective filtration area (m20.15 
 DO concentration (mg L–12–4 
Quality of municipal wastewater used in this study
Analysis items COD (mg/L) NH4+-N (mg/L) TN(mg/L) TP(mg/L) pH 
Values 173 ∼ 506 36.9 ∼ 79.1 50.7 ∼ 93.4 1.57 ∼ 6.43 7 ∼ 8 
Average 294 57.2 72.8 3.57 7.5 
Operating conditions of the sDMBR system 
 Flux (L m–2 h–160 
 Temperature (°C) 20–22 
 HRT (h) 
 SRT (days) 30 
 Membrane flux (L m–2 h–162 
 Reactor volume (L) 25 
 Effective filtration area (m20.15 
 DO concentration (mg L–12–4 

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