In this study, a membrane bioreactor (MBR) with high concentration of powdered activated carbon was investigated to enhance the oxidation of ammonia at a water temperature lower than 4°C. A semi-pilot scale submersed suction type MBR was operated with a hollow fiber membrane module having a nominal pore size of 0.1μm and an effective filtration area of 0.05 m2. A powder activated carbon (PAC) concentration of 40 g/L was maintained in the reactor and the PAC was not replaced during the experiment. A control reactor without PAC was also operated for comparison. Water temperature of both reactors was controlled at 25, 10, 4 and 2°C. At a water temperature of 4°C, the influent ammonia nitrogen of 10 mg/L was removed completely in the reactor with PAC. On the other hand, the effluent concentration of the control reactor was fluctuated in a range of 3-6 mg/L. In addition, nitrite nitrogen was detected in the control reactor up to a maximum concentration of 6 mg/L at the same temperature. Still high removal efficiency was obtained in the reactor with PAC even at 2°C, but almost no ammonia oxidation was observed in the control reactor. The average ammonia oxidation rate of the powdered activated carbon reactor was 1.3-3.2 mg/L.h, which is 4.5 times higher than that of the control (0.51-0.63 mg/L.h). Filtration resistance was 2.45 × 1012m-1 for the reactor with PAC, which is one order lower than that of the control reactor (1.64 × 1013m-1). The microbial cake layer on the membrane surface caused the larger filtration resistance for the control reactor. Only one chemical cleaning was conducted for the membrane in the PAC reactor at the flux of 0.4-0.7 m/d while 3 times cleaning was required for that of the control.

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