This study investigated the effect of MLSS concentration in a sequencing batch membrane bioreactor on COD and nitrogen removal as well as flux. Two values of MLSS (5 g/l and 10 g/l) were investigated in this study. The strength of the feed was varied to achieve a target F/M ratio of 0.5 based on COD. Accordingly, the concentration of COD was determined as 3.5 and 7.0 g/l for the 5 and 10 g/l MLSS targets, respectively. The test results showed that an average COD removal of 98.5% was achievable. However, it was noted that nitrification inhibition occurred. Nitrification inhibition occurred because of two factors, namely high NH4+–N concentration and high DO demand. High NH4+–N in the feed led to the inhibition of nitratation and thus high nitrites are found in the effluent. High DO demand due to high feed COD concentration led to an extended period with low DO levels inside the reactor thus retarding the conversion of NH4+–N. The increase in the MLSS concentration from 5 to 10 g/l led to a decrease in the average flux from11.1 l/m2 · h to 9.6 l/m2 · h. An increase in aeration, from 2.0 to 8.0 l/min, did not lead to any significant improvement in terms of fouling.

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