Biologically activated membrane bioreactors (BAMBis) were operated at suspended solids retention times (SRT) of 7 and 102 days and at full solids retention. The effect of these different approaches of operation on the substrate and nutrient conversion, and on permeate flux, was investigated. Variations in organic loads and aeration intensities were also studied. Permeate flux stabilized during long-term operation independently of suspended SRT. Removal of the organic substrate was independent of solids concentrations and remained stable over the long term. Microorganisms colonizing the surface of particles were found to be the main mechanism responsible for degradation of the organic substrate in the particulate form. BAMBi appeared to be a robust technology, adapted to on-site treatment of used wash-water, as it can be operated without control of suspended SRT. Thus BAMBis can be operated for long periods without any control of biofouling and sludge formation, leading to low maintenance needs. When BAMBis were operated at low aeration, the formation of anoxic zones led to combined nitrification and denitrification and thus significant nitrogen removal.

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